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ANALYSIS OF MILITARY OPTION

For the last decade, the international community has taken a variety of diplomatic measures to persuade the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons program and avert the need to use military force to slow down or destroy the project. However, the time is rapidly approaching when more dramatic steps will be necessary to stop Iran. In what is viewed as a last resort, a military strike may be the only way to halt Iran's nuclear progress.

Besides the basic desire to avoid war, a number of factors mitigate against a military operation. Middle East Expert Mitchell Bard walks you through an analysis of the military option.

CATASTROPHE PREDICTIONS

World leaders focus on non-violent means for encouraging Iran to give up its nuclear project, but as a last resort “all options are on the table.” It is, therefore, possible that the United States - alone, with Israel, or with its European allies - could take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

However, a variety of military officials, politicians, pundits and analysts in the U.S. and beyond have suggested that any military operation against Iran aimed at destroying or, at least, slowing down Iran’s nuclear program will end in catastrophe.

INTERNAL REGIME CHANGE

The old saying, "predictions of my demise are premature," certainly applies to the rulers of Iran. Since the revolution in 1979, suggestions have repeatedly been made that a new revolution is in the works. We are told that the young, educated, westernized part of the population seethes under the autocratic and medieval mullahs who hold power. On occasion, parts of the population have protested, but these potential uprisings never received much support and were quickly put down by the brutal regime.

People in the West who have not had to fight for freedom in a totalitarian society often underestimate the difficulty of overthrowing a government that controls all the levers of power and that uses a ruthless cadre of secret police to enforce discipline.