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Why Iran will never nuke Israel

April 27, 2009

The threat of Iran using nuclear weapons on Israel is a fiction for public consumption. Considered strategically and by weighing outcomes it is clear this threat is non-existent and mere hyperbole. These are the reasons why:

– Israel is a tiny place. Any nuclear strike would have devastating consequences for large parts of the country, since radiation plumes could travel in any direction. Unfortunately Jordan, Syria and Egypt could also be irradiated but mainly in desert areas, but Lebanon could be made inhabitable more or less in its entirety.

– What cities could Iran target? Jerusalem is the third most holy city in the Islamic world, containing its third most important site, The al-Aqsa mosque, as well as the Dome of the Rock. There is no possibility of an Islamic country targeting Jerusalem.

– A nuclear strike on the cities on the coast – Tel Aviv (63 km from Jerusalem), Ashdod (70 km), Netanya (95 km), Haifa (158 km) – are so close to Jerusalem that radioactive dust could contaminate the latter, making pilgrimages to the Islamic holy city impossible for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. (When Chernobyl melted, sufficient radiation reached the Lake District in the UK for livestock to be culled).

– A nuclear strike on any part of Israel will kill many Palestinians, who comprise approximately 20% of the population.

– If either the west bank or Gaza were irradiated – which is almost certain – the Palestinians would be denied what little scrap of a homeland they currently occupy. The right to return would be meaningless.

It is time the MSM became rather more factual in addressing this topic. Instead of inflaming tension and disunity, we should be considering the geopolitical threat that Israel fears if Iran achieves nuclear parity, the threat Iran poses diplomatically if it becomes a formidable player in the ME, one with the potential to wield considerably more influence. It is also the case that by obtaining nuclear capabilities, Iran can no longer be a victim of the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force, Iraq style shock and awe.

No amount of numerical superiority can prevail in an invasion if the defending country can simply target the conventional forces with atomic weapons. It is, I believe, for this last reason (and given the example they just witnessed on their own border) that Iran would most likely want to acquire this technology, but it can have no intention to use them on Israel, even under the greatest provocation, and it is time we stopped parroting the ugly rhetoric of those who would paint Iran in such monochrome terms.

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