Iran War: Scenarios For An Attack on Iran

Israeli Tourist Bus Bombing on July 18, 2012, killed six Israelis.

Israeli Tourist Bus Bombing

Iran War


Iran Flag

For the past several years, the possibility of a war involving Iran against one or more Western nations has remained within the realm of possibility. Iran's quest for nuclear power, and, many experts believe, a goal of acquiring nuclear weapons, has worried many nations.

On July 18, 2012, a terrorist attack on a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria may have given Israel more than enough excuse to attack Iran. Recent tensions between Israel, Iran, and the United States, have caused much speculation as to whether an attack on Iran, which is developing a nuclear program, will occur soon. Iran has blamed Israel for assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and for cyber-attacks on nuclear facilities. Iran and Israel have a very harsh history of hostile relations, with Iran conducting terror attacks on Israelis in the past, arming Israeli enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and for supporting the Assad regime in Syria. Israel claims that Iran's nascent nuclear program's end goal is to develop nuclear weapons that would be used on Israel.

Given all this recent tension, why would Iran strike at Israeli targets now? One theory is that a war with Israel would detract pro-democracy activists in Iran and strengthen the current regime. Another theory is that the United States and other Western allies would be able to convince Israel to not attack now. Or, this is a ploy by factions within Iran (i.e. the Revolutionary Guards) to discredit other factions of the regime.

Whatever the reasons for the Iranian attack, it is clear that if Israel truly wanted a Cassus Belli (a cause for war), they now have it.


Nations that may attack Iran over the Nuclear Issue:

--The United States and its traditional allies (Britain, France, Germany, etc.) are increasingly worried about a nuclear Iran, especially given the tense relationship Iran has with most Western nations since the Iranian Revolution of the late 1970s. Ever since President Bush declared that Iran was part of an "Axis of Evil," the threat of conflict increased. It is believed that the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States has lowered, but not eliminated, the possibility of a war between Iran and the U.S.

--Israel, which is the world's only Jewish nation, has a long history of conflict with the Muslim world, and the current president of Iran has made several anti-Semitic comments, and has indicated that he does not believe Israel should exist. Israelis are justifiably worried that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel and kill millions of Jews.

Is Israel Preparing For An Iran War?

--Conservative Arab nations, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. While it is very unlikely that any of the Arab nations would attack Iran, they may very well aid and abet any attack by the West and/or Israel. Historically Persian Iran has been in conflict with the Arab nations. This is partly due to the fact that Iran is dominated by the Shiite sect of Islam, while most Arab nations are controlled by the majority Sunni sect of Islam.

Below are new accounts related to the tensions between Iran and other nations that may lead to the feared Iran War.

Events took a serious turn during the Pittsburgh Summit of Western Industrialized Nations (The G-20) on September 25, 2009. At the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, President Obama, along with the leaders of Britain and France, announced the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear facility inside a mountain about a hundred miles south of Tehran.

The information revealed by the Western leaders came from spies on the ground in Iran, as well as spy satellites, revealing that Iran has a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain. In response to this news, the Iranian government said they would allow United Nations inspectors access to this newly revealed Iranian nuclear facility. The timing of the news is interesting, given that direct talks between the West and Iran over the nuclear issue were scheduled to start on October 1, 2009.

Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown on Iranian Nuclear Facility

Even Russia and China joined in, though in a milder sense, to the international sense of frustration brought on by the apparant Iranian deception involved in keeping this nuclear facility secret.

Parallel to the developments around the nuclear site, news that Iran's Revolutionary Guards planned a missile defense test that happened to coincide with the Jewish Yom Kippur religious holiday, caused concern in Israel.

Ongoing Ethnic Unrest:

Iran is far from a homogenous nation. The Islamic Republic has many ethnic and religious minority groups, and many of them chafe under Tehran's rule. The Baluchis of southeastern Iran (like their ethnic kin across the border in Pakistani Baluchistan), want freedom from the central government, and are conducting a guerrilla/terrorist war to achieve their goals.

Iran's ethnic and political unrest escalated on October 17, 2009, with a suicide bombing that killed at least five commanders of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The bombings also killed and wounded dozens of others left dead and injured in two the restive Baluchi region of near Iran's southeastern frontier with Pakistan.

The coordinated suicide bomb attacks mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran's leadership and one of the nation's many restive ethnic and religious minorities, in this case the Baluchis. Many terrorist attacks, mostly directed at the Iranian military and at the Revolutionary Guard have plagued Iran's southeastern region, Sistan-Baluchistan, and in April the government put the elite but brutal Revolutionary Guards Corps in control of security in the Baluchi region in an effort to stop the escalating violence.

Iran, predictably, has accused its foreign enemies of supporting the insurgents in the past, and repeated that charge the day after the latest attack. By midday, news reports from Iran said that 31 people were killed and at least 28 injured.

Iranian Weapons to Hezbollah

In early November, 2009, Israeli forces seized a cargo ship containing large amounts of weapons supplied by Iran to arm Israel's Lebanese enemies, Hezbollah. Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in the summer of 2006.

Iranian War Games

Iran held war games in late November, 2009, claiming that these military exercises were preparation to repel a possible Israeli attack. Iran's war games caused a slight increase in world oil prices, as many analysts saw the exercises and the accompanying Iranian propaganda as inflaming the situation.


Two recent developments in particular shows that Israel is growing increasingly concerned. First, the Israeli cabinet decided to fund a program to provide gas masks to all Israelis. This is an obvious preparation for the possibility of missile attacks on Israel from Iran and/or Iranian allies Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria.

Second, on January 12, 2010, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated by a remote-controlled bomb in Tehran. It is widely assumed that Israel is behind this killing in an apparent attempt to delay the Iranian nuclear program.

In late January, 2010, news media reported that the U.S. was quietly upgrading defensive missile systems, including Patriot missiles, in the waters of the Gulf, as well on the territory of several allied Arab nations. This move was due to clear concern about tensions with Iran and the deteriorating state of talks on the nuclear issue.

Israeli Drone Fleet

In late February, 2010, Israel unveiled a new potential weapon in its growing arsenal. The Heron TP, which is a second-generation Israeli-manufactured pilotless aerial drone capable of staying in the air for 20 hours, and with a range that can take it into the skies over Iran.

The drone is believed to have seen action in the recent Gaza War.

Iranian plane buzzes the USS Eisenhower

On April 21, 2010, an Iranian navy Fokker F27 turboprop reconnaissance plane flew to within 1,000 feet of the American aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower in the Gulf of Oman. This flyby occurred toward the beginning of Iran's military exercises in the Gulf. This encounter came as the rhetoric between the U.S. and Israel, on one side, and Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah on the other side, began to heat up over several issues. Perhaps the potentially most dangerous point of contention is the alleged transfer of powerful new Scud missiles from Syria.

Iranian navy plane flies near USS Eisenhower in Gulf of Oman--CNN, April 28, 2010

Russia to supply fuel rods for Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr

Russian sources associated with that nation's assistance program with Iran's nuclear program announced that by August 21, 2010, the fuel rods necessary to power the Bushehr nuclear reactor will be installed. Some analysts, such as John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., believe that announcement creates a deadline by which Israel will attack the Bushehr reactor. According to Bolton, an Israeli strike at the Iranian reactor must come before the nuclear material is installed, otherwise, an attack could spread radioactive material throughout parts of the Middle East.

Also, in August, 2010, an article was published by The Atlantic magazine which presents facts and opinions on the possibility of an Israeli strike at Iran. The Atlantic article concludes that there is a 50 percent likelihood that Israel will strike the Iranian nuclear program by July, 2011.

On August 21, 2010, Iran, with Russian aid, began inserting the fuel rods into the Bushehr reactor. Some analysts believed that Israel would not risk an attack after August 21 for because of the risk of serious nuclear contamination throughout the Gulf region if the reactor were to be destroyed. However, other analysts see evidence of war preparations by Israel, Syria, and Iran. Clues these analysts see include:

--Ongoing publicity and concern in Israel over the Gallant Scandal, which some Arab sources see as a smokescreen to deflect attention away from war preparations by Israel.

--The presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari in Damascus, apparantly for discussions on coordinating Syrian, Hezbollah, and Iranian military responses to an Israeli strike.

--Statements made by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas saying that direct peace talks with Israel were not in the likely because "a big military surprise awaits the Middle East."


 Sept. 26, 2010--Iran appears to be the victim of a concerted cyber-war attack through the so-called Stuxnet computer virus. This virus, though found in other countries, is concentrated in Iran, and is targeting industrial sites, in particular the controversial Bushehr nuclear plant. Analysts believe the virus to be the work of a "nation-state" with the resources to create and launch this complex virus. Obvious culprits include Israel and the United States.

Tags: Iran. Links:

Sept. 26, 2010--Iranian forces crossed the border into northern Iraq to strike at a Kurdish Iranian rebel group in retaliation for a bombing inside Iran that killed 12 in a military parade in the town of Mahabad. Iran claimed to have killed 30 rebels on the Iraqi side of the border.

Tags: Iran, Iraq, Kurds. Links:

 July, 2011--Former CIA officer Rober Baer says that Israel will attack Iran in September of 2011, prior to a Palestinian vote, citing former Mossad chief Meir Dagan's warnings of an Israeli attack on Iran as "no bluff." Dagan had warned that an Israeli attack on Iran would be foolish, and that it would start a war that would send thousands of Iranian and Hezbollah missiles at Israel.

December, 2011

Amid heightened war tensions, Iran announced the capture of an American Drone over Iranian skies. When Iran provided video footage of an apparantly undamaged drone, speculation arose as to a possible Iranian cyber-attack on the drone (i.e. Iran hacked the code and/or communications of the drone to order it to land)..

Video of the Drone Captured by Iran


Strait of Hormuz War Games


News Links and Resources on an Iran War:

Top CIA officer: Israel will probably attack Iran in Sept. --Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2011

Senegal - Iran: From friendship to diplomatic war--Afrik News, Feb. 25, 2010

Iran Guards chief secretly oversees war plans - in Damascus--Debka, Aug. 24, 2010

'Al-Qaida prepares for Israel-Iran war' --Jerusalem Post, Aug. 20, 2010

Arab sources: A major military surprise is close. Galant scandal a smokescreen--Debka, Aug. 20, 2010

Repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran --Christian Science Monitor, Aug 12, 2010?

The Point of No Return--By Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, September, 2010 issue

Israel Weighs Merits of Solo Attack on Iran :Officials, Seeing Impending Policy Split With U.S., Debate Prospect of a Military Strike Without Washington's Consent--Wall Street Journal, April, 21, 2010

Plotting the Next Mideast War: Syria's alleged transfer of Scuds to Hezbollah could spark an uncontrollable chain reaction--Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2010

What War with Iran Means --Patrick Buchanan, April 1, 2010

Prepare for war with Iran -- in case Israel strikes--Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2010

Israel unveils new drone fleet that can reach Iran--USA Today, Feb. 21, 2010

Are Lebanon and Israel Headed for War?:Word on The Streets of Beirut is That The Drums are Beating for Battle--ABC News, Feb. 15, 2010

US speeds deployment of missile defenses to counter Iran--Boston Globe, Jan. 29, 2010

An Israeli Preventive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Sites: Implications for the, Jan. 15, 2010

Who's behind the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist?--The National, Jan. 13, 2010

Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas must wait until Israel is ready--Haaretz, January, 2010

Covert war on Iran's nuclear program reaches into Tehran--Debka, Jan. 12, 2010

Iran’s War Games Raise Oil, Nov. 24, 2009

US expert urges all-out financial war on Iran--Ynet News, Nov. 14, 2009

Analysis / It won't end in six, Nov.8, 2009

Israeli Navy Seizes Lebanon-Bound Ship Allegedly Carrying Arms to Hezbollah--Fox News, Nov. 4, 2009

Iran Guard Commanders Are Killed in Bombings -New York Times, Oct. 18, 2009

Iran to hold missile defense exercise on Yom, Sept. 26, 2009

U.S. and Allies Warn Iran Over Nuclear ‘Deception’ --New York Times, Sept.

Medvedev: Israel not planning Iran strike--Reuters, Sept. 20, 2009,

Top IDF officer: Iran has taken over Hezbollah--Ha'aretz, Sept. 18, 2009

Iranians commanding Hizbullah units--Jerusalem Post, Sept. 18, 2009

Barak Says Nuke - Armed Iran Couldn't Destroy Israel--New York Times, Sept. 17, 2009

US intel predicts Israel-Iran war in 2009--Press TV, Feb. 12, 2009

Arms Expert Sees Iran War Ahead--January 25, 2006 --From the Hartford Courant

Iran's Gaza Front--January 27, 2006-From the New York Sun

Iran's War Threat is Very Real-- from Washington


Internet Links on an Iran War:

Stop The War Now/Iran-- from

Video of the Drone Captured by Iran Search Engine



Ahmadinejad Inspects Nuclear Plant

Iranian President Ahmadinejad Inspects Natanz Nuclear Plant

Recent Iranian Political and Military History:

1953-Military Coup overthrows anti-Western government. Coup backed arranged by the U.S. and the UK

1979--Iranian Revolution-The Shah of Iran flees, and Ayatollah Khomeini sets up the Islamic Republic

1979-1981--U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis

1980-1988- Iran-Iraq War. Began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran in Sept. 1980

1987-1988-"Tanker War" with the United States

2009-2010- Unrest and civic protest due to allegations of fraud in Iranian Presidential Election

2012-Increased tension with Israel and the United States over the Stuxnet computer virus attack, the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

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Related Conflicts

PREDECESSOR: (Related conflicts and events that occurred before)


Iranian Revolution 1978-1979)

U.S.-Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-1981)

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)

Tanker War (1987-1988)



CONCURRENT: (Related conflicts occurring at the same time)

Iran Election Protests and Unrest (2009-2010)



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