Analysts are abuzz over a potential U.S. airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Although the certainty of such an attack has grown hazier with a new Congress and a new defense secretary, a number of Bush loyalists have already indicated their desire to deal militarily with Iran’s nuclear program.

AFP via Common Dreams:

With the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, hard-liners in the government have lost one of their leading advocates, and his replacement, former Central Intelligence Agency chief Robert Gates, has in the past favored direct talks with Iran, said one expert.

“But they remain within the administration at the highest level, the office of the vice president, the National Security Council staff, perhaps the president himself,” said Joseph Cirincione, policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

He also accused neoconservative circles of promoting the military option against Tehran.

In a Sunday op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Joshua Muravchik, resident scholar at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, called for getting tough with Iran.

“We must bomb Iran,” he said. “The path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere. … Our options therefore are narrowed to two: We can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it.”

Israel has also been pushing Washington to get tough on Iran.

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh did not rule out preventive military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in a recent interview with the English-language Jerusalem Post.


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