Even though many experts are claiming that Iran is years away from a nuclear bomb, that's not going to matter much. This isn't economic forecasting. This is war. The worst case estimate will win (particularly when dealing with nuclear terrorism). One year is the worst case estimate if the Israeli claim of a secret program is to be believed (see below). That will become the timetable.
Downside risks of a conventional attack on Iran will not be overriding factors either. Regional chaos -- including everything from conventional war, oil disruption, and global terror attacks -- all pale in comparison to a terrorist nuclear detonation on US or Israeli territory. Only the latter is considered an existential threat and it will not be left as an open ended question, particularly by those in power today.
From the The Sunday Times (UK). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) admitted on Friday that it was alarmed by “gaps” in its knowledge about Iran’s centrifuge programme and the role of the Iranian military in undeclared nuclear work. An Israeli source said Mossad had evidence of hidden uranium enrichment sites in Iran “which can short-cut their timetable in the race for their first bomb”.
Dagan, a stocky former commando who was injured in the 1967 six-day war, was sent to Washington by Olmert, the victor of last month’s Israeli elections, to prepare the way for his own visit to the White House on May 23. The Mossad boss is thought to have held meetings with counterparts at the CIA, the Pentagon and national security council. “Dagan is not given to small talk and niceties,” said an Israeli intelligence source, who believes he told the Americans: “This is what we know and this is what we’ll do if you continue to do nothing.”
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, vowed last week that Iran’s nuclear programme would go underground if attacked. But many intelligence experts believe it is already operating a parallel uranium enrichment programme concealed from IAEA inspections. “When I read the recent (intelligence) reports regarding Iran, I saw a monster in the making,” said Dr Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli parliament’s foreign and defence committee, who oversees Mossad’s activities in Iran.Steinitz fears the Islamic republic might be only a year away from developing a bomb, although the Iranians claim to be pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy programme. “There is only one option that is worse than military action against Iran and that is to sit and do nothing,” Steinitz said.