Will Obama Bomb Iran?

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Alireza Nader

Alireza Nader is a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. The chance of an armed conflict depends on the success of nuclear negotiations. Hassan Rouhani's election as president provides more room for diplomatic negotiations, but his ability to deliver depends on building a coalition within the regime. Iranian ultra-conservatives, in particular, must approve of his domestic and foreign policy agendas. The most recent U.S. Congressional sanctions will not help, as they send the signal Washington may not be interested in negotiations, or cannot deliver a diplomatic deal. The U.S. has built significant leverage over Iran, but now is the time to use it. A sanctions policy not tied to a diplomatic approach will fail. If the U.S. and Iran cannot reach a deal, then the U.S. may consider a military option as Iran reaches a nuclear weapons breakout capability in a year or so. This is a dangerous scenario not only for Iran, but for the U.S. as well. War with Iran will be costly, and may only convince Iranian leaders they need a nuclear weapons capability. (AP Photo)

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