Fifth is the dwindling economy of the United States which restricts any new military confrontation in the world. America is under debt of almost 15 trillion dollars. Public opinion back home is averse to any new military adventurism. Sixth is the military capabilities and outreach of the Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. Iranian missiles can target American bases in Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Air defence capabilities of Iranian military are also a threat for Americans and Israelis. Seventh is the lack of support in the Muslim world. American allies in the Middle East are reluctant to support the idea of use of force. Eighth is the strategic location of Iran, which could be a major hurdle for the United States or Israel for any ground attack. With aerial strike, it is unattainable to destroy Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
All these hurdles prevent United States and its ally Israel to carry out strikes against Iran. Any attack on Iran may delay Iranian endeavor for nuclear weapons for not more than two to four years, but after the attack Iran will certainly go for nuclear option. So it is essential for the US and other regional powers likes Russia and China to seek a diplomatic solution to this issue. America must respect international law and avoid any direct unilateral intervention in Iran. Article 2 (4) of the UN charter clearly states that all member states shall refrain from threat or use of force against other member state. Thus, the option of use of force will never resolve this issue. In fact, it may lead to further volatility and mayhem in the region.
For Iran, time is short; it has two options. First Iran should comply with the demands of the United States and open its all facilities for the IAEA inspectors. This step would benefit Iran in three ways: first it may save Iran from isolation at global level; secondly, Iran will not face more sanctions from the US, EU and UNSC; and thirdly, it can continue with its peaceful nuclear programme under the auspices of IAEA.
Second option for Iran is to test a nuclear device as soon as possible. This option will benefit Iran in many ways: first, Iran would be able to deter any aggression from the United States or Israel. Second, Iran would be able to preserve its sovereignty and dominion. Third, there will be balance of power in the Middle East. Fourth, Iran will become a major power in the region and may challenge US hegemony in the Persian Gulf. But on the other hand, if Iran gets nuclear weapons, then other Sunni GCC states may also speed up their venture to get a nuclear device to deter or counter the influence of Shia dominated nuclear power in the Middle East. Such thinking will not benefit either party and may provoke arms race in the region. Muslim states must cooperate with each other for the long-term peace and stability of the region.
Any confrontation between Iran and United States will be catastrophic for the regional and global peace. America must learn from its past mistakes and stick to negotiations. It must seek help of Russia and China to bring Iran to negotiating table. War or aerial strikes against Iran will be ineffective. Peaceful resolution of this issue is the best option.