Nuclear Option

Could Israel Attack Iran Alone?

Driven by signs that the U.S. could be willing to live with a nuclear Iran, top Israeli officials are weighing a military attack against Iran, with or without the approval of the Obama administration. On the one hand, such a strike would further diminish strained U.S.-Israeli relations, could disrupt the world oil market by cutting off exports through the Persian Gulf, and might trigger terrorist attacks by Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, destabilizing the region at a sensitive time for U.S. forces. On the other hand, the president of Iran has called for Israel's destruction, and is developing the country's nuclear capabilities for what he says are peaceful uses. Israeli officials have been frustrated with the slow pace of U.S.-led sanctions against Iran, and believe Iran could develop a nuclear warhead that could reach Israel in the next year, although outside experts say such development would take years.