If a US attack were nuclear this would even up the ante. The US no longer regards nuclear weapons as purely defensive nor will it commit itself not to using them against non-nuclear powers. Therefore if you are a non-nuclear power you can still expect an attack. You might as well go nuclear as has Pakistan, India, and of course Israel, although somehow I doubt Israel expects an attack by the US!
Attack on Iran would be 'catastrophic', IAEA says
2:15PM Friday January 26, 2007
By Stella Dawson
DAVOS, Switzerland - An attack on Iran would be catastrophic and
encourage it to develop a nuclear bomb, Mohamed ElBaradei, director
general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Thursday.
"It would be absolutely counterproductive, and it would be
catastrophic," ElBaradei said at a discussion on nuclear proliferation
at the World Economic Forum.
The Bush administration in recent weeks has toughened its stance
against Iran, which the West has accused of seeking to secretly build
an atomic bomb, raising fears among political and business leaders
that the US plans an attack.
President George W. Bush has moved an additional aircraft carrier into
the Gulf and told Iran that he would not allow it to provide weapons
and support to insurgents in Iraq.
Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against
Iran on the lines of its 1981 air strike against an atomic reactor in
Iraq, although many analysts believe Iran's nuclear facilities are too
much for Israel to destroy alone.
The United Nations imposed sanctions in December to prevent Iran using
its nuclear energy programme for military weapons, and Iran this week
banned 38 IAEA nuclear inspectors.
ElBaradei, head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, has been engaged in
meetings here at the gathering of world political and business
leaders. He said diplomacy is the only way forward, and talk of
military action can only backfire.
"This strengthens the hands of those in Iran who say 'let's develop a
bomb to protect ourselves," he said.
The Bush administration has said it wants a diplomatic solution and
that it is not preparing to attack either Iran or Syria.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz also warned against an attack,
while Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami urged calm to reduce
tensions over Iran's nuclear programme.
"If there is military action, it will have catastrophic results, not
only in the region, but the whole world," Aziz said.
"I hope they would be good enough in managing the situation. We deeply
need patience and understanding and not to get too emotional," Khatami
ElBaradei said force should not be ruled out, but past experience has
shown that it should not be used with haste, citing Iraq where no
evidence of nuclear weapons was found after the US-led invasion.
"I am convinced that the only way forward in Iran is engagement,"
ElBaradei said. "We have to invest in peace," he said, adding that if
the international community failed to do that "the consequence will be
10 times worse."
"I hope we will stop speaking about a military option and focus on
finding a solution," ElBaradei said.
Iran says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity but the West
fears it is secretly seeking an atom bomb. In December, the United
Nations imposed sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear
materials and technology to try and stop enrichment work that could
produce bomb material.