The Odds April 2006

Bombing Iran

This January, Iran announced that it would resume uranium-enrichment research, breaking an agreement set more than two years ago with several European powers. After a series of breakdowns in negotiations—and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—the move was widely perceived as an indication that Iran has decided to pursue nuclear weapons, whatever the consequences. U.S. and Israeli officials have publicly refused to rule out a military solution. When might such an attack— by the United States or Israel—take place? Here are the odds set by tradesports.com earlier this year, just after Iran resumed enrichment research, along with some factors the site’s bettors may (or may not) be considering.

4:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by June 30, 2006.

By this date, the United Nations Security Council may have only recently enacted sanctions, such as travel bans or freezing the assets of Iranians associated with the nuclear program. More important, neither the United States nor Israel is likely to risk a strike in the midst of an election year. Israel will have only recently voted in a new parliament, and the United States will be mere months away from mid- term elections.

3:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by December 31, 2006.

The November elections will be over in the United States, and a new government will be firmly in place in Israel. But the two powers may continue to defer to the international community, and wait to assess whether sanctions and diplomacy curb Iran’s ambitions.

2:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by March 31, 2007.

If Iran continues to make progress toward nuclear weapons capability, despite heavy international pressure, a surgical military strike against one of its key facilities—such as the uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz or the uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan—would become more politically feasible. Analysts at the Eurasia Group, an international consulting firm, predict that surgical strikes are likely “by the [United States] or Israel during the first quarter of 2007.”

Presented by

Terrence Henry

Terrence Henry is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. More

Terrence Henry is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. In January 2009, he and his wife embarked on a food tour of Argentina, Spain, Italy, England, Canada, and the United States. Some 13 months later he settled in Austin, where he is now learning the art of Texas barbecue and writing about food and film.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Global

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In