Unable to reach Obama again, Netanyahu tells Biden that it has been a “clean, successful operation,” with minimal Iranian casualties. “Frankly, we should have done this a long time ago,” he says.
But the first batch of satellite photos suggests that the Fordow nuclear plant outside Qom, buried under 300 feet of specially designed concrete, may have survived the raid. Unless Israel or the United States mounts a follow-up attack, Iran may be able to continue enriching uranium fairly quickly.
Iranian state television shows footage of the casualties, including women and children (though an opposition Web site later reveals that these images were actually of recent earthquake victims in northwestern Iran). Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows revenge. “The blood of our women and children is on the hands of the Great Satan and its puppet master!” he says. “The Zionist entity has written its death certificate!”
When the stock market closes, oil prices are up nearly 40 percent, the largest 24-hour increase in history. CNN interviews Americans at gas stations in swing states such as Florida and Ohio; most blame Iran, not Israel or Obama, for the price jumps.
By Friday evening, leaks have emerged from within the U.S. government and military saying that the United States had no prior knowledge of Israel’s actions.
Obama manages to break away from his national security team to join his family for a quick dinner. Sasha and Malia are talking about their schoolwork.
“I don’t like physics,” Malia says. “It’s too complicated.”
“I know just how you feel, honey,” Obama says. “I’ve got a few problems like that, too.”
Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Blake Hounshell is managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine.