If Israel bombs Iran's nuclear facilities is Iran helpless to respond militarily?

If Israel decides that Iran’s increasingly vehement rhetoric is serious about wiping them off the face of the earth and decides to take matters into it’s own hands, and unilaterally wipe out Iran’s nuclear facilities with air strikes, is there anything Iran can do within their current force capabilities to respond militarily and attack Israel with conventional military forces?

Iran has a long-range missles of local manufacture, ( modifications of the elderly Scud design, I believe ), called the Shahab-3. But their performance based on tests seems mixed at best and most analysts on quick skim seem to regard them as probably pretty inaccurate. They do seem to have the range to hit Israel - whether they can do much damage with them is an open question.

Other than that and on the ground guerilla/terrorist infiltration, not much.

  • Tamerlane

It could always start funding terrorist organizations which will carry out attacks on Israeli civilians.

… oh, wait … :smack:

Of local manufacture–with substantial foreign assistance, if you will. :wink:

Witness the Chinese-built plant near Semnan (Oghab rocket, 1987 and Mushak 120), the NK-built plants at Sirhan and Isfahan (liquid fuels and structural components), the Chinese-built facility near Bandar Abbas (Silkworm ASCM), plus Russia’s supplying of production facilities, diagrams and instructional support, much routed through NK and based on the Russian SS-N-6. The Russia-NK alliance has provided also provided Iran liquid propellant and Russian specialists to smooth out bumps in the Shahab 5 missile project.

With the Russians, Chinese, and NKs squarely behind Iran’s program, the capability of Iran’s program shouldn’t be underestimated.

…they’ll need really good bombs. Iran’s nuclear facilities are hardened, deeply-buried targets. I suspect you would need to expend a nuclear-tipped ICBM to knock them out, and even then I don’t know that you’d be able to destroy the facilities. They must have doors and vents, but collapsing those is dodgy, too, because it doesn’t kill the program, just forces Iran to dig the dirt off their doorways. And all of that assumes you know exactly where they are, and that you’ve found all of them.

If the bunkers don’t have adequate food and water, or if your intelligence service knows when the resupply missions are flown, you might be able to cause a cave-in right before the resupply and then keep pressure on for a few days… but that’s an awful lot of risks to maybe starve their nuclear scientists.

To be sure :).

Nor overestimated, probably ;). Whatever the mercenary interests of China and Russia in supplying certain goods and expertise, I doubt the NK/Iran projects are exactly cutting edge. Perhaps sufficient long-term.

But that’s long-term. Today I’m not sure Iran is capable of a devastating counter-attack, even putting aside Israeli defences. A nasty one, maybe, in the form of terror-inspiring city strikes as in the Iran-Iraq War. But probably not much in the way of precisely targeted infrastructure damage.

  • Tamerlane

With NK-Iran working alone, I agree. But the Russian connection raises concern. Soviet/Russian military technology is arguably second rate, but second rate beats ninth rate any time. One thing is certain: As Iran creeps forward with enrichment and eventual nuclear weaponization, the next 10 - 15 years promise to be interesting.