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Weighing The Iranian Threat45:57


Israel, the U.S., and the clash of two different threat assessments on Iran and war. Which way will this go?


Things are getting very sober on the Iran front.  On the question of war and peace and Iran.  War and peace and nuclear weapons.  Yesterday, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat side by side in the White House laying out their positions.

They did not sound exactly the same.  The president says Iran must not have nuclear weapons, but there is a window of time for diplomacy.  The Israeli leader said time is running out.  An attack is on the table.  Who will decide?  How?  And for whom?

This hour, On Point:  the U.S., Israel, and the way ahead on Iran.
-Tom Ashbrook


David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

Michael Makovsky, foreign policy director at the Washington think tank, the Bipartisan Policy Center. He heads the organization’s Iran project. His recent Weekly Standard op-ed on Iran is here.

Graham Allison, is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

From Tom's Reading List

Washington Monthly " Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mindful of the U.S. electoral calendar and the possibility that Barack Obama might pull off a victory in November, may see a temporary opportunity to precipitate a conflict in which a preelection U.S. president would feel obliged to join in on Israel’s side."

Foreign Policy "With an Israeli strike imminent, Obama must select between two courses of action. First, he can attempt to forestall war by joining and reinforcing the Israeli military threat against Iran, in the hope that such a strong commitment will convince Iranian leaders to open their nuclear program to full inspections, or risk losing it to bombing. "

The Atlantic "In the most extensive interview he has given about the looming Iran crisis, Obama told me earlier this week that both Iran and Israel should take seriously the possibility of American action against Iran's nuclear facilities. "I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff." He went on, "I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.""

This program aired on March 6, 2012.

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