Is Israel Thinking About a Military Strike on Iran? History Tells Us It's Possible.


Doreen Horschig

Security, Middle East

If history is any guide, Israel may strike Iran while the world quietly watches.

Is Israel Thinking About a Military Strike on Iran? History Tells Us It's Possible.

Iran shot down a U.S. drone on June 19, further escalating tensions between Iran and its adversaries.

Relations with Iran have been worsening for months. In early May, one year after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal negotiated in 2015 between Iran, the U.S., the European Union and five other countries, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country may also withdraw from the agreement, which limits its ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions.

In June, Rouhani announced that Iran will restart uranium enrichment, which could put the country on track to develop a nuclear weapon within a year. Rouhani's government insists its uranium will go to civilian nuclear power, not weapons.

As a "deterrent" to Iran, the United States is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East.

The U.S. is not the only country considering a military response in Iran.

"Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 17. Netanyahu also said Iran must be punished for violating the nuclear agreement.

Israel, which has faced threats to its national security since its founding as a Jewish homeland in the Middle East in 1948, is known to take aggressive, preventive action to protect itself - including by launching preemptive strikes on neighboring nations it perceives as threatening.

If international relations with Iran grow more volatile, Israel could take dramatic, unilateral action against its neighbor and longtime adversary.

How the Begin Doctrine justifies preemptive strikes

I'm an international security scholar who studies Israel's proactive use of its military to prevent nuclear buildup in the Middle East.

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