If negotiators allow Iran to continue with its nuclear energy program, Israel "may have no choice" but to launch pre-emptive military strikes against Iranian targets to delay development of nuclear weapons, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV
And even then, Dershowitz told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, Israeli military action can only "set back" Iran's nuclear program by a few years, not destroy it for good — a capability only the United States military possesses.
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Israeli officials are reportedly weighing strikes,
fearing that a looming international agreement will leave Iran room to build nuclear weapons under cover of a peaceful energy program.
Dershowitz, author of "Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas,"
called military strikes on Iran "the second worst option" — the worst being a scenario in which Iran becomes a nuclear power, given past threats by Iranian politicians to annihilate the Jewish state.
"You cannot allow a country with leaders like that to have access to nuclear weapons," said Dershowitz, calling Iran a "suicide nation" and "the world's greatest exporter of terrorism."
Dershowitz said that it ultimately falls to the United States, the lead negotiator in the talks, to prevent a nuclear Iran — whether by treaty or by force.
He said the Obama administration should say "unequivocally" that the U.S. "will do whatever it takes" to prevent that outcome and to guarantee the safety of other countries, including allies such as Israel.
"If sanctions work, fine," said Dershowitz. " If diplomacy works, fine. If none of that works then the United States should use its military facilities and ability to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
If President Barack Obama permits Iran "even to become a threshold nuclear state," he will be history's next Neville Chamberlain, said Dershowitz, citing a leader "who brought healthcare to Britain but who failed to recognize and prevent the greatest danger of the 20th century, namely Nazism.
"And the greatest danger of the 21st century is a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach New York and Washington," he said.
Dershowitz said that U.S. negotiators, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, have their reasoning "absolutely backwards" on how to foil Iran's nuclear ambitions while gaining Iranian cooperation against a common adversary — the Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria and Iraq.
"By saying that we need Iran to help us defeat ISIS, that's total nonsense," he said. "Iran needs us to defeat ISIS."
He argued that the radical Sunni Muslims of ISIS pose a more "direct, immediate threat" to Shia-dominated Iran than to the United States.
"So we shouldn't be giving nuclear concessions to Iran to get them on board to fight with ISIS," he said. "They should be making concessions to us, to get us on board to help them fight ISIS."
Dershowitz also discussed Obama's controversial order last week to shield million of illegal immigrants from deportation and assert his authority to do so over congressional opposition.
"This is uncharted ground," said Dershowitz. "Anybody who tells you the president violated the Constitution is wrong. Anybody who tells you the president DIDN'T violate the Constitution is wrong. … At this point in time, nobody knows the answer to that daunting constitutional question."
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