Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
With the break-up of the latest round of the Iran–P + 1 talks in Moscow and despite the next round scheduled for Istanbul in early July, there is an interesting idea that was suggested to me as to why recently the Israeli rhetoric has turned somewhat muted; although the Iranian nuclear threat still remains. This is in addition to the apparent U.S.–Israeli infection of another virus, the Flame, which penetrated the Iranian system.
There is a significant strategic event which may well have truly influenced how Israel is approaching the threat—publically. It was disclosed first by Der Speigel, as well as elsewhere, that three of the six submarines Israel is buying from Germany already have been outfitted for nuclear tipped cruise missiles. The significance of this sale is two-fold. First, Israel clearly expands the size and flexibility of its military arsenal in a dramatic and critical way. Second, with respect to the confrontation with Iran there is very important statement here as well. Iran now has clearly been informed that Israel has a second strike capability; no one having assumed that Israel did not possess a nuclear capability. Iran may well have designs to attack Israel, but the potential Israeli response, if it figures in the Iranian calculations, has now been significantly increased.
(One additional footnote to the world is the fact that Germany gave Israel a gift of 30% of the cost of the submarines and it also deferred payments until 2015 for their purchase.)