What to do about Iran?

Thursday 7 June 2012, 4.22pm | Royal Geographical Society

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It’s the question that frames the security of our world: how terrified should we be at the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran? There are some who argue that too much fuss is made of it: India has the bomb; Israel has the bomb: let Iran have it too. We can live with it. But what if they’re wrong? What if this new threat capacity in the hands of a malign theocracy drastically changes the power balance in the Middle East and the subcontinent? What then? Then the question becomes, what, if anything, can be done to stop Iran getting the bomb? According to Efraim Halevy, the former Mossad chief, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is confident “that there is a viable, effective military capability that could be employed as a last resort”. And even Halevy, who urges one last round of serious talks, sees a military strike as inevitable if that fails. So the new question then becomes, can anything be done to stop Netanyahu from acting unilaterally and making his own decision to attack Iran? Or is he just bluffing?

On June 7th Intelligence² gathered together a group of leading analysts – doves and hawks, Iranians, Israelis and Americans – to debate these urgent questions that deeply affect us all.




Max Boot  Senior Fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

Mark Dubowitz Executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C.

Roxane Farmanfarmaian  Political analyst specialising in Iranian geo-strategic affairs, and Affiliated Lecturer on the modern Middle East at the University of Cambridge

Fawaz Gerges  Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics He also holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East

Daniel Levy  Director of MENA at ECFR and Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation



Nader Mousavizadeh Former Special Assistant to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Chief Executive Officer, Oxford Analytica