Bennett Ramberg: For Iran, Learn from Iraq 1991-94

Roundup: Media's Take

Bennett Ramberg served as a policy analyst in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

By late Tuesday, we could see the restart of the ticking clock that can lead to military action against Tehran’s atomic program. These are the stakes should the second round of the European Union-Iran technical nuclear talks in Istanbul fail to make progress. Breakdown could make impossible any resumption of these stalled plenary negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran.

Though sanctions have yet to play out, deadlock makes force increasingly plausible. However, many analysts and government officials in the United States and elsewhere have taken a glum view about the practicality of such a step. Airstrikes, they argue, may set Tehran back only a few months, and instead energize the government’s efforts to get the bomb.

Policymakers sound stumped. But they shouldn’t be. If the decision to apply force were made, the international community can prevent an Iranian nuclear rebirth through inspectors who have the authority to destroy remaining nuclear contraband.


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