The government of Israel faces a difficult decision in coming months, possibly weeks, as the Iranian nuclear program reaches a dangerous threshold.
There are various schools of thought about the likely course of events but it comes down to three possible scenarios.
In the first scenario Iran will respond to the pressure of sanctions and abandon its nuclear ambitions while allowing international inspectors full and unfettered access to its facilities.
While the sanctions are biting and the Iranian people are starting to experience hardship, there is little likelihood of the regime halting its uranium enrichment program.
The second scenario is that Iran will announce that it has developed nuclear weapons technology and that it intends to construct a nuclear device.
This is also unlikely as it would provoke an immediate military response from Israel and most probably from the United States.
In the third scenario, feared by Israel to be the most likely, Iran will seek to develop nuclear weapons capability but not construct a bomb.
There is concern in Israel that the United States may be prepared to accept the third scenario, provided the Iranian regime does not commence construction of a nuclear device.
However, the Israeli government has made clear that it is not a scenario that Israel can tolerate.
A series of recent reports from Iran and Israel have heightened concerns that Israel is preparing to take action and that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is imminent.
One report claims a meeting took place in late July between Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his military heads.
Ayatollah Khamenei warned his military leaders that he expected Iran to be at war "within weeks" and most likely during September or October this year.
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