The Power of Credible Threats at Work?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Now, admittedly, Ehud Barak might not be the most reliable narrator of the Iran nuclear crisis, but his comments this week are still interesting:

Barak told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that an immediate crisis was avoided when Iran chose to use more than a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes earlier this year.

He told the paper that the decision "allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months".

"There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer," he said.

"It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) 'oh we comply with our commitments'."

Analysts say Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs if it were refined to a high degree, but may still be a few years away from being able to assemble a missile if it decided to go down that path.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/10/the-power-of-credible-threats-at-work/264332/