Former USAF colonel sets out Iran’s likely response to the US military option

Its influence will be strengthened by a US attack, argues Sam Gardiner

A former US Air Force colonel has today warned of the scale of Iran\’s capacity to respond to a strike by the US military.

The discussion paper, General you have the advantage of time: Iran\’s response to the US military option, by Sam Gardiner, Colonel, US Air Force (Retired), takes the viewpoint of a senior military advisor to Iran\’s Supreme National Security Council. He argues that a “low signature response” to a US military attack would include Iranian retaliation against oil assets, the exploitation of US vulnerabilities in Iraq and the fermentation of unrest in the wider Middle East and in other Islamic states.

Col Sam Gardiner predicts: “Iran\’s influence in the region will be strengthened by a US attack… The Iranian leadership can compound that impact by wisely picking from the options in this brief.”

BASIC Co-Executive Director, Dr Ian Davis, said: “Engagement with Iran without pre-conditions is our only option. Col Gardiner highlights the folly of a military solution. Tough preconditions and strong sanctions may play well with domestic audiences, but they dig us deeper in the hole.”

Iran is expected later today to be declared in violation of a UN resolution calling for a halt to its enrichment of uranium. The US administration is moving a second aircraft carrier battle group into the Gulf region. The BBC has reported that the US has chosen targets in Iran and has considered two scenarios for an attack. The targets include not only Iranian nuclear sites but Iranian missile sites and other military infrastructure.

It is obvious that Iran will be preparing to respond. Ari Larijani, Iran\’s chief nuclear negotiator said yesterday: “Anyone interested in irrational moves would definitely receive an appropriate response. This can be solved at the chess board or in the boxing ring.” Larijani remains silent on what he means… Gardiner\’s report looks at Iran\’s effective options.

Since 1987, BASIC has worked to combine analysis with a commitment to fostering constructive dialogue on transatlantic security challenges. Our Iran project is funded by the Ford Foundation. This discussion paper is the first in a new series on Iran\’s nuclear program and its international legal and geopolitical context.

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