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Con (against)
11 Points

Israel and Iran - lannan13's Tourney

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2012 Category: News
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,116 times Debate No: 20480
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)




I will be arguing the position that Israel is justified in a strike against Iran's nuclear program.

Con will be arguing that Israel is not justified in such an act.

This is for lannan13's winter tournament.

I hope for a great debate.


Thank you for this challenge, I am delighted to accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate and hope for a good one.

This debate is going to revolve around whether or not Israel would be justified in a military strike against Iran focusing on the Iranian nuclear program. First we must ask: why would this be justified?

Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran has been enriching uranium now for a number of years under increasing scrutiny from the West. On the surface their program seems peaceful and the Iranian government has continuously said that their nuclear program is for "peaceful" purposes only. [1]

However, despite these claims there are a few things about the nuclear program that don't add up.

a) The Plea for Nuclear Power

The main topic of conversation with Iran about its nuclear program are centered around these "peaceful" efforts in the field of nuclear science. The Iranian government claims it needs to develop nuclear energy to provide power for the country. But this looks a little suspicious for a number of reasons.

- Iran is the 4th largest oil producer in the world. [2][3]
- Iran takes in $77 billion a year in oil revenue [4]
- Iran is home to the third largest oil reserve in the world [5]
- Iran is home to the second largest natural gas reserve in the world [5]

From these statistics we can see that energy should be no problem for Iran. This abundance of energy sources makes people wonder about the intentions of their nuclear program since it seems apparent that they are not hurting for energy. In fact, 18.5% of all Iranian electricity is lost to waste due to technical failure [5] which points to infrastructure problems not production problems.

b) Relations with the IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been dealing with Iran's nuclear program for some time now and has given Iran's program a clean bill of health but always after a few glitches. Countless reports were delayed due to discrepancies or disagreements between the two groups. Iran has hidden details of its program, expelled UN inspectors and disagreed with IAEA regulations and claims. The two always seem to be at odds. (For full list of issues see source 1)

Once again this adds suspicion to the whole program. The United States has shown that their enrichment facilities are not efficient or big enough to be used for atomic energy, especially with their infrastructure problems, but are big enough for use in a bomb.

From the apparent abundance of energy in Iran to the disagreements with the IAEA makes Iran's nuclear program seem a little suspicious in the eyes of the West and Israel.

But this isn't enough to warrant an attack.

Iran and Israel

Standing alone the strange circumstances of Iran's nuclear program isn't enough to provoke an attack but if you couple it with the current regimes apparent hate for Israel you get a different situation.

Iranian "President" Ahmadinejad has been quoted countless times threatening Israel and vowing her destruction.

"This entity (Israel) can be compared to a kidney transplanted in a body that rejected it," he said. "Yes it will collapse and its end will be near." [6]

"Iran believes that whoever is for humanity should also be for eradicating the Zionist regime (Israel) as symbol of suppression and discrimination," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Lebanese television network, carried by ISNA. [7]

"Do not assume you will be boosted with a (U.N.) recognition of a Palestinian state," Ahmadinejad said, addressing Israel. "There is no room for you in the region." [8]

Couple these quotes (a few of many) with this famous quote:

"Israel must be wiped off the map" [9]

and you get a recipe for a military intervention. Now I must note that this quote was claimed to be mistranslated by the Iranian government but this claim is still up for debate. The correct translation according to Iran should have been "the current Israel regime should be taken off the pages of history" [9] Either way the rhetoric is anti-Israel and inflammatory just like the rest of his quotes.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

If you add the strange and seemingly unnecessary circumstances in which Iran is going about building a nuclear program plus the continuous brutal anti-Israel rhetoric you get a situation in which Israel feels threatened and has right to believe that Iran's nuclear program may be used for more sinister things than clean energy.

Preemptive Strike

If Israel were to launch a military strike against Iran and her nuclear program it would be a preemptive strike launched out of self-defense. Such an attack would be completely justified given the evidence I have laid out. A defensive strike against a potential nuclear threat would be justified.

Other Things to Note:

- Israel is hated by many other countries in the area such as Syria, a powerful Iranian ally.
- Israel is attack on an almost constant basis by terror groups such as Hamas which up until recently was being openly funded by Iran. [10]

To wrap up, all of these things together, the nuclear program and energy facade, the anti-Israel mentality and the constant pressure of attack from Iran supported groups could lead to a justified defensive preemptive strike by Israel on Iran.

Thank you.



I would like to thank ConservitoPolicio for proposing this debate as part of the lannan13's Winter Tournament.

To be clear about the resolution, I should reiterate my opponent's position that this is not a debate about the relative merits or shortcomings of Israel and Iran, although these must be considered as relative factors, but rather that a preemptive strike on Iran by Israel would, or would not, be justified. Just for the record, I have criticised both the Israeli and Iranian regimes on a wholesale basis in the past, yet I do recognise both countries and peoples have glorious pasts and, if they can reconcile their differences, could have glorious futures too.

Now to address my opponent's arguments.

Iran's Nuclear Programme

a) The Plea for Nuclear Power Iran, as my opponent correctly points out has large oil reserves and will be self-sufficient for many years to come. However, this does not preclude the need to develop alternative sources of energy.

i. Oil and gas is Iran's largest export and it's main source of foreign currency. If more oil exported and less oil is used for domestic ,purposes the more Iran's economy will benefit from positive trade surpluses.

ii. Iran's oil and gas reserves are finite: when they are exhausted Iran will have few alternative sources of energy unless they develop nuclear power in advance.

iii. Burning oil and gas to produce electricity creates large carbon emissions which are very damaging to the environment whereas nuclear energy is very clean in comparison. While I accept that Iran is not the first country

Western people think of as being at the vanguard of green issues, there is no reason top suppose that Iranians are any less concerned with protecting the planet than anyone else.

b) Relations with the IAEA

Iran's relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency has not been without "glitches", as my opponent pointed out, but neither have there been any serious concerns been raised that warrant urgent intervention, certainly not a preemptive military strike. And at least Iran has a relationship, albeit flawed, with the IAEA: Israel flatly refuses to open up her nuclear facilities to IAEA inspectors. Furthermore, we must remember that while Iran co-operates with the international community on nuclear arms matters Israel, a nuclear power, refuses to submit to the authority of the United Nations' Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - the only nuclear power in the world not to do so. As Reuters reported in 2010: "All 189 parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called on Friday in a declaration that singled out Israel for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East." Yet Israel refused to co-operate.

Iran and Israel

Iran and Israel do not enjoy friendly relations, even though Jews in Iran are protected while Muslims in Israel and the illegally-occupied Palestinian territories are routinely persecuted. Nevertheless, many of the statements President Ahmadinejad has made in relation to Israel have been twisted by pro-Israeli media sources in the West and used as propaganda against him. For example "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."

Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Putting Two and Two Together

Even if Iran desired to launch a nuclear attack on Israel in the future, it would do so on the basis of mutually assured destruction because Israel is already in possession of long-range nuclear missiles.

This deterrent is what prevented the Cold War escalating into a nuclear exchange between the West and the Communist Bloc and what, today, prevents India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers and sworn enemies, of launching nuclear missiles into each others' territories. For Iran to launch an attack on Israel would be suicide but, as it stands, for Israel to launch such an attack on Iran wouldn't be. That may be reason enough, given Israel's bellicose rhetoric towards Iran, would seem to be a great incentive for the Persians to develop
a nuclear deterrent.

Preemtive Strike

Iran is no paragon of virtue, I concede that, but niether is Israel which has consitently defied the will of the internnational community in both nuclear matters and matters relating to the human rights of Palestinians who live under the yoke of Israeli oppression. Consider this, if Israelis did not have the huge political, economic and military support of the Unirted States, they would be considered a paraiah state in the same way as many other countries are who have violated international law. In conclusion, just because the US has chose, for whatever reason, to back Israel no matter what they do in defiance of internatioanl law, just not justify a premtive strike on another sovereign nation.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 2


C1) Nuclear Program

a) The presence of fossil fuels does not rule out the developement of fossil fuels I agree, but when the world asks Iran to stop its nuclear program while it has current ample reserves of potential energy they begin to look a little suspicious.

i. The more oil they export the more money you take in in revenues giving you more money for developement of current energy sources while the current regime works out its problems with the West. Like I said, most of their energy problems come from inefficient waste due to falty infrastructure. Iran can use this oil revenue to help rebuild its infrastructure instead of a nuclear program.

ii. Yes, these reserves are finite but show no signs of being depleted in the near future. According to sources the world's oil supply will last through the mid-21st century [1]. This means Iran can live off of these reserves for many years to come before having to transfer to nuclear energy.

iii. If Iran is truly running out of energy and is having troubles meeting demand then clean air is not going to be a very high concern. Also, nuclear power creates nuclear waste and Iran has not given any indication on how to handle such waste responsibly.

b) There have been issues raised. Iran is known only to release its nuclear information after they the fact [2] so to speak which lends itself to suspicion that the next nuclear test is already underway long before they alert the IAEA. Also you failed to address the fact that Iran's current nuclear facilities are not set up to be condusive for electrical power but are only set up for enriching uranium for broad purposes.

As for Israel, it is not publically known nor confirmed by any official party that Israel is a nuclear state which is why they refuse to comply with international law. They do not want it known whether they do or do not possess nuclear weapons and think that ambiguity is better than outright knowlege.[3] Israel will most likely to agree to such talks about banning nuclear weapons after Iran has given up theirs. Why should they forfeit what Iran routinely refuses to forfeit? However this debate is focused around self defense and any attack by Israel on Iran would not be one of aggression or conquest but a preemptive strike to deter potential Iranian nuclear ambition.

What my first contention all adds up to is that Israel has more than enough evidence to suspect Iran of suspicious nuclear activity. IAEA glitches, refusing to back down from their nuclear program after repeated instances of being told to do so in a situation where it is apparent that they do not need nuclear energy at this time. Its not the act of simply developing nuclear power but the continuing defiance when it comes to the program itself. Iran simply refuses over and over again. [4] Such defiance makes one wonder why they would be so defiant. Certainly not simply over energy since they are not hurting for fuel. Once again this all adds up to extremely suspicious cercumstances and with the West's failure to stop Iran Israel feels as if they must take matters into their own hands before something can happen.


C2) Israel and Iran

The status of Palestinian residents in Israel is another debate completely. They have been offered deals and peace talks about dividing up Israel but no agreement can be reached since both sides feel entitled to Jerusalem, however this has nothing to do with the debate at hand.

I already addressed the misinterpretation and said it was more akin to removing the Israeli regime from the pages of history (scroll up). Nevertheless the rhetoric stands belligerent and aggressive.

Also my opponent failed to address the rest of the quotes (of which there are dozen) highlighting Iran's strong and ardent anti-Israel mentality. He has failed to do so because there can be no way to combat such blatent quotes calling for the removal of Israel. Wouldn't a nuclear weapon do just that? Either way, which ever way you spin it the current Iranian government hates Israel and has announced that it would revel in her destruction. The rhetoric stands.

And while Iran may not have attacked another nation "aggressively" they have behaved quite aggressively as of late.

Aggressive behavior:

- threatening to close the Straights of Hormuz
- refusing to give up nuclear program after dozens of requests
- wishing that Israel would disappear
- arming anti-Israel terrorists

While they may not have overtly attacked a country they have certainly behaved in an aggressive manner.


C3) Putting Two and Two Together

Once again Israel would never attack Iran just for the heck of it but instead would attack only if backed into a corner. With Iran's current unpredictable and arguably crazy "president" there is no guarentee that such a Cold War-esque stand off would truly result in a stand off. In order to preserve itself as a nation Israel will work to prevent such a situation. No one wants to be in a cold war.

Also I would like to point out again that Israel is not a confirmed nuclear power but only suspected to be one. Perhaps they have no nuclear weapons at all and that is why they are working so hard to prevent Iran from getting one because a cold war stand off would be one sided due to their own lack of nuclear weapons. In that case the scenario you laid out would be unfair and threatening to Israel.


Terrorists and Cowardice

There is evidence to suspect that if Iran ever obtained a nuclear weapon they would not use it overtly. As you said yourself they have not attacked someone openly in over a hundred years but that in no way means they haven't attacked anyone in the past century. Iran has always been afraid to take on Israel directly which is why they have funnelled money through Syria, another anti-Israel country, and Hamas in order to fight Israel indirectly.

In light of this one must take into account the possible use of a terrorist operated and detonated "dirty bomb" or even small nuclear device. Iran has a history of backing terrorists, including Hamas and Hezbollah which have both staged attacks on Israel in the past. [4] Nuclear waste could easily be used to create a dirty bomb which is probably the most likely threat to Israel thus neutralizing the cold war scene you painted since without concrete evidence Israel could hardly launch a nuclear attack back on Iran.


Preemptive Strike II

Once again I will lay out the evidence that supports a justified Israeli preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

* Iran does not need the energy at this very moment
* Iran has refused to shut down a suspiciously managed and unneeded nuclear program
* Iran has partaken in heavy, belligerent and aggressive anti-Israel rhetoric
* Israel might not have nuclear weapons thereby justifying keeping nukes out of the Middle East
* Iran funds terrorist groups and partakes in state sponsored terrorism esp. against Israel
* Iran can not be ruled out of using a nuclear tinged "dirty bomb" or small nuclear device via terrorist groups agains Israel

All of these things together create a convincing case for a defensive preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear capabilities alone. My opponent dropped the rhetoric points (the extensive quote collection) and the terrorism argument because they are undeniable. Iran is dangerous and can and will use nuclear capabilities against Israel if given the chance.

While I admit neither side is completely blameless, Israel would be justified in defending itself against shady scheming nuclear terrorist attacks from a nation who has made it a mission statement to destroy them.

I thank you for a great debate, one of the best I've participated in.



I would like to thank ConservitoPolitico for his outstanding contribution to this tournament and also for engaging in this debate in the most respectful and eloquent manner. I hope my responses to his last arguments will be considered equally worthy of the voters' attention, which are as follows:

Nuclear Programme

a) There is nothing suspicious about developing alternative energy sources, both the US and Britain had massive oil reserves in the 1950's and 60's and were self-sufficient in oil production while they developed their respective nuclear power programmes. (1,2)

i) Oil production is not 100% efficient, not in Iran, not anywhere. This point should be disregarded.

ii) I refer my opponent to the statement above relating to the need to develop alternative energy sources in advance of oil reserves being depleted.

iii) I maintain that Iranians will be as concerned as anyone else about pollution and global warming and they do have a nuclear waste processing facility, it is located at Anarak, near Esfahan in central Iran. (3,4)

b) There are concerns over the end use of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, I have not denied, but just today the Iranian President stated that he is ready to engage in talks with the international community on the issue and has previously said: ""We do not need an atomic bomb. The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two atomic bombs while you have 20,000 warheads." (5) Whilst many will be unwilling to take Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his word, surely constructive diplomatic engagement is better than a preemtive military strike?

With regard to Israelis, surely their continued refusal to even admit that they have a nuclear capability, much less engage in international discussions regarding the same, as my opponent acknowledges, proves they are equally, if not more, duplicitous than the Iranians'?

The fact is that if Israel were not a nuclear power they would say so and open up their facilities to the IAEA for inspection, but they haven't.

Israel and Iran

I think my opponent and I both agree that there is mutual distrust between the Israelis and the Iranians and I would say, in many ways, this mistrust is justified.

We should not allow this debate to get derailed by the minutia of the various diplomatic spats between the two countries - many nuclear powers are engaged in similar disputes: India and Pakistan and North Korea and the US are notable examples. The point is, do such political or ideological disagreements warrant one country launching an unprovoked attack on another sovereign nation? I would say not.

Putting Two and Two Together

I would agree that the Iranian president is one sandwich short of a picnic, but this does not give Israel the right to unilaterally launch an attack on his country. That would amount to the collective punishment of the Iranian people who did not vote him into power in free and fair elections and who are too oppressed to overthrow his hideous regime.
To be legal, any such attack would need to be sanctioned by the UN Security Council and while the US might support it under a Republican administration; Russia and China would almost certainly veto such a motion.

Terrorists and Cowardice

This is a new argument, isn't it? Anyway, my opponent may well be right that Iran has supported groups resisting the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, just as Britain and the US supported resistance fighters in France during that country's occupation by the Nazis in the second world war.

Many countries do this on a regular basis: the US has u anti-communist insurgents in South and Central America and Asia for decades. Indeed, they initially supported the Taliban in their struggle against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980's. As it happened, the Taliban turned out to be a group of vile, anti-democratic terrorists, but that label cannot be applied to South Koreans or French resistance fighters, or, indeed, Libyan rebels who freed their country from tyranny last year.

Just because Israel labels Arab freedom fighters as "terrorists" does not mean they are terrorists.
Preemtive Strike

In reply to my opponents points I reiterate that:

* Iran may not require nuclear energy at this very moment, but she will in the future.

* Unlike Israel, Iran has expressed and demonstrated her willingness to engage with the international community on the issue of nuclear weapons

* Iran has, indeed, expressed belligerent sentiments towards Israel, just as has Israel has expressed belligerent sentiment towards Iran but, unlike Israel, Iran has never threatened a unilateral, illegal and unprovoked military attack on her adversary.

* If Israel does not have nuclear weapons she would engage with the international community and open up her facilities to independent inspection.

* Iran funds her allies, such as the democratically-elected Hamas Party in Palestine - they are not terrorists, even though militant Hamas supporters engage in attacks on Israeli troops in the region. If Israel did not illegally occupy Palestine then they might be described as "terrorists" but all they are doing is resisting the illegal occupation of their country.

* Iran could, in the future, use a dirty bomb against Israel, but this would provoke a devastating response from the international community and they would lose all sympathy from neutral nations such as China and Russia. Such an action would be political suicide, if not physical suicide, as Israel and her allies would respond with a far more devastating nuclear counter attack.

In conclusion, a preemtive military strike by Israel on Iran cannot be considered an act of "defense" and would seriously destabilise not only the Middle East, which is already very politically fragile, but would cause massive and damaging rifts between the US, Russia, China and Europe.

For that reason I reaffirm that a preemtive Israeli strike on Iran would be extremely dangerous and totally unjustified.

Thank you.

Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
Israel needs permission from no one actually, they are their own independent state.
Posted by thigner 6 years ago
I think the very point of this debate is that is it enough reason to attack Irain? Even though purpose is not about nuclear program.

Israel must get permisiion from world society not USA
Posted by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
No worries. The time limit is 3 days for a reason.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
I look forward to posting my reply. In order to do the justice your opening argument deserves, please forgive me if I don't respond until the weekend when I will have time to give the matter its due consideration.
Posted by ConservativePolitico 6 years ago
Round One Acceptance, forgot to add that...
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate. Pro successfully managed to prove that Iran is in fact a threat to Israel and Western nations, especially through the IAEA and Plea for Nuclear Power arguments.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: though both sides were good, I think Brian's negotiation argument won over the financial argument by CP.
Vote Placed by lannan13 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had better sources and was more convin', but I've got to give Brian credit for a tuff debate. This could of been good enough for nationals
Vote Placed by Neonix 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Tough debate. I agree with Pro. Even after the debate, I agree with Pro. However, I feel Con debated his point a little better. If I was on the fence about this issue, I feel Con had enough steam in his argument to "tip the scale". He used edited resources. Wikipedia is a resource, but it undergoes very little checks and balances. Over all I feel Pro should have won, but a few minor things are lacking. Great job to both sides.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: To close to call arguments wise but con had less but more reliable sources.Wikipedia is a good source but when it is the most used source you ask where are the real main sources? 3 Wikipedia is ok anymore is overkill. So sources con rest tied.