YEREVAN – Once again, the issue of bombing or sanctioning Iran has resurfaced. For years, debate about Iran has oscillated between two bad alternatives. Some are convinced that a nuclear Iran is the worst of all possible scenarios, worse even than the fall-out from a pre-emptive strike. But neither a nuclear-armed Iran nor air strikes against it are wise options, certainly not for this region.
The repercussions of bombing Iran should be clear: closure of the Straits of Hormuz, skyrocketing oil prices, possible retaliation against Israel (regardless of the origin of the attack), and even greater turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the only certainty of any pre-emptive strike is irreparable and long-lasting damage to regional security and political and economic stability.
Of course, the alternative is no safer. A nuclear-armed Iran would change the entire region’s security environment, and, given the enmity between Israel and Iran, two such nuclear powers facing off against each other would pose a threat.
The way out of this dilemma is to understand what Iran wants – and how to accommodate it without jeopardizing anyone’s security.