/PRNewswire/ -- With Iran on the brink of attaining nuclear weapons capability, the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Security Initiative is calling for the United States to take a triple-track approach for preventing an Iranian nuclear threat through diplomacy, sanctions and a military option. According to its new report released today, Meeting the Challenge: When Time Runs Out, authored by former Senators Daniel Coats and Charles Robb, and retired General Charles Wald, there are three potential outcomes should the U.S. fail to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions: a nuclear weapons-capable Islamic Republic of Iran; an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities; or a regime change in Tehran.
The report, which is the third in a series by the BPC on Iran, argues that containing a nuclear Iran would almost certainly prove ineffective and lead to a greater regional conflict. It also stresses that an Israeli strike would be risky and regime change is extremely unlikely. Therefore, the report's co-authors strongly assert that a nuclear Iran must be prevented now.
An analysis by the BPC shows that Iran, under current trends, could have enough fissile material in July to produce a nuclear weapon by October 2010. With diplomatic and economic efforts having failed to dissuade Iran from developing its nuclear capability, the authors warn that time is literally running out.
The report recommends the U.S. immediately adopt a triple-track strategy that involves diplomacy, sanctions, and a clear demonstration of its willingness to use the military option as a last resort. The BPC has advocated this strategy in its earlier reports. "Sanctions and diplomacy are much more likely to work if they are backed up by a credible military capability and the clear willingness to use it," said Senator Charles Robb. "We reiterate our support for the President's 2009 pledge to use 'all elements of U.S. power' to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability."
According to the BPC, the U.S. could immediately strengthen its position by increasing the U.S. Fifth Fleet's presence in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman; enhancing the military capabilities of U.S. allies in the region; initiating a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan to establish a broader regional presence on the ground; and by working with Iraq and Saudi Arabia to improve their capacity to ship oil out of the region without passing through the Straits of Hormuz. "Only the credible threat of a U.S. military strike can make a peaceful solution possible," said retired General Chuck Wald. "Ultimately, a U.S. led military strike is a feasible, though risky, option of last resort."
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