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Study Cautions Against Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

Joby Warrick
Friday, August 8, 2008

A military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably only delay the country’s progress toward nuclear-weapons capability, according to a study that concludes that such an attack could backfire by strengthening Tehran’s resolve to acquire the bomb.

The analysis by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security found that Iran’s uranium facilities are too widely dispersed and protected — and, in some cases, concealed too well — to be effectively destroyed by warplanes. And any damage to the country’s nuclear program could be quickly repaired.

“Following an attack, Iran could quickly rebuild its centrifuge program in small, easily hidden facilities focused on making weapon-grade uranium for nuclear weapons,” said principal author David Albright, ISIS president and a former U.N. weapons inspector.


The study, scheduled for release today, is based in part on a comparison of Iran’s known nuclear facilities with Iraq’s Osirak reactor, which Israeli jets destroyed in a 1981 strike intended to curb Baghdad’s nuclear ambitions. Although Israel struck a devastating blow against Iraq’s program, a strike against Iran would be harder by several orders of magnitude, according to Albright and co-authors Paul Brannan and Jacqueline Shire.