The Coming Clash Over Iran


The National Interest - December 10, 2012

Graham T. Allison Jr. is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Prof. Shai Feldman is Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center and Co-Chair of the Crown-Belfer Middle East Project at the Harvard Kennedy School 

With the violence in Gaza and Israel subsiding at least for a while, U.S.-Israeli conversations will likely soon return to the much more significant issue of Iran.

The Obama administration and the Netanyahu government were largely on the same page during the Gaza crisis, and the two country’s leaders seemed to be able to set aside their mutual animosity and distrust, working together to defuse the crisis. But much greater turbulence in their relations can be expected by the middle of next year when the issues associated with Iran’s nuclear project will likely reach another crescendo.

Around that time, a number of important developments will converge. First, Iran will have made further progress with its nuclear program, reducing the time that would be required to...