Painting a scary picture of a world with a nuclear-armed Iran, the editors of The Economist nevertheless argue emphatically against mounting an airstrike against the Islamic state. It's been a tense week in the Middle East, with U.N. nuclear inspectors jettisoning Iran after the country refused to grant access to a suspected explosives-testing site in Parchin, and military analysts sketching out a playbook for ways Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Urging restraint, The Economist editors posit that bombing Iran won't eradicate its nuclear program, but will make matters worse in the region:
[Iran] could retaliate, including with rocket attacks on Israel from its client groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Terror cells around the world might strike Jewish and American targets. It might threaten Arab oil infrastructure. ... Even if all its sites are hit, Iran's nuclear know-how cannot be bombed out of existence. ... Iran would probably withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which its uranium is watched by the International Atomic Energy Agency. At that point its entire programme would go underground-literally and figuratively. ... [T]he world cannot eliminate Iran's capacity to gain the bomb. It can only change its will to possess one. Just now that is more likely to come about through sanctions and diplomacy than war.
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