Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has reportedly reassured Israel about the ongoing threats to attack Iran militarily, saying that they will start seriously considering it again after Iran’s June 14 elections.
The election will choose a replacement for outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the US and Israel have scheduled a “joint assessment” for after the result is announced to decide how it impacts the ongoing threats to attack them.
Bizarre, to say the least, because Iran’s president has limited power over the nation’s civilian nuclear program, and even less on the P5+1 negotiations. Rather, while Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric is often cited as an excuse for war, his actual ability to implement changes in Iranian policy is comparatively minimal.
Ahmadinejad is perceived as on the outs with the ruling clergy in Iran at any rate, and the fact that he survived to the end of his term is a bit of a surprise as well. His hand-picked successor, Esfiander Mashei, hasn’t been confirmed as a candidate yet, and has been accused of religious deviancy. A more religiously hardline candidate is expected to be the Ayatollahs’ preferred choice, though a front-runner hasn’t been named yet.
It isn’t clear then what this new “assessment” will focus on, since literally nothing will change about the program no matter who wins the election. Rather, the comments may be seen as the Obama Administration trying to put off the Netanyahu government’s incessant calls for military action.