Will Obama Bomb Iran?

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Aaron David Miller

Aaron David Miller is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington and a former analyst and negotiator in Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. The odds that Barack Obama will unilaterally strike Iran's nuclear weapons program by the end of his term are probably slim to none. The president's objective is to leave Washington without having to wage a costly military strike, and without being accused of allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. This balancing act depends on three factors: First preventing Israel from striking Iran; second creating a serious negotiation with Iran over its nuclear weapons program; and third, hoping that Iran, for its own reasons, will not accelerate its nuclear program with goal of weaponizing. Since nobody -- Israel, Iran and the United States, let alone the Europeans or the Russians and Chinese -- really want to risk a war with Iran, there's a pretty good chance President Obama will get his wish. But we should also be under no illusion that this will address the problem of Iran's nuclear program. Most likely the best that the U.S. can do -- even with a negotiated settlement -- is to keep the Iranians X number of years away from producing a weapon; the danger of Tehran breaking out and producing a weapon in a relatively short period of time will remain ever present. Indeed, it's very hard to imagine Iran giving up permanently its search for a nuclear weapons capacity even if it chooses not to weaponize. (AP Photo)

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