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Iran Close Nuclear Bomb, IAEA Report Says; Iran Says Still ‘no Proof’

Posted on the 08 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Iran close nuclear bomb, IAEA report says; Iran says still ‘no proof’

President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who has long claimed that Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Photo credit: Daniella Zalcman

The Washington Post, relying on government sources, reported that the IAEA report, due out this week, will warn that Iran has the necessary expertise and materials to build a nuclear weapon, having been covertly aided by outside scientists, including from the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Pakistan, for years. Among the “smoking guns” in the report is the claim that Iran has built a reinforced steel chamber exclusively for the testing of highly explosive materials. Speculation that the report would contain just such damning evidence has reinforced fears in the US and abroad that Iran is moving towards a nuclear weapons capability; anti-Iran rhetoric is heating up in Washington and elsewhere, most vocally, Israel.

Iran’s response to the report’s claims has been studied nonchalance and indifference: “Let them publish and see what happens,” Iran’s foreign minister and former nuclear top official, Ali Akbar Salehi, reportedly told Iran’s Mehr News Agency Saturday.

Israel worried. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israeli Radio on Tuesday that he is not optimistic that the international community can find the political will to impose “deadly sanctions” on Iran. Regarding the IAEA report, Barak told reporters, The Jerusalem Post reported, that Israel has “known these things for years”, but that it’s release nonetheless offers the best time to sanction Iran in an effort to put a stop to its nuclear program. Barak also said that Israel has no plans to launch an attack on Iran at this point.

Israeli military strike? But rumours that Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and others, including Minister Barak, are trying to garner domestic support for a strike on Iran’s nuclear site have been gaining momentum; add to that the fact that both the US and the UK seem to be making similar noises and the concern that another war is in the making is very real indeed. Barak also made it clear that though Israel has no plans to launch an attack on Iran now, it could do so without the approval of the US; commentators have speculated that Israel wouldn’t take such and action without the explicit support of its biggest ally.

At the same time, others in the international community are clearly against an attack on Iran, including France. Mary Riddell, writing in The Daily Telegraph, warned that “the temperature is rising” and that should Israel launch an attack, the US would have no choice but to come to its aid at Iran’s inevitable retaliation, embroiling Britain as well. That would be a deadly mistake. “The only option, as obvious and elusive as ever, is for enhanced diplomacy and more sanctions against Iran. … For if aggression and vested interests prevail, then this week, or some future flashpoint, will usher in a war whose ferocity makes the current conflicts look like skirmishes.”

Iran might want to be bombed. Israel and Iran should be, Amir Taheri claimed at The New York Post, strategic allies: “Neither wishes to see the Middle East dominated by pan-Arab or Sunni Islamist regimes; both want a region where diversity is accepted as the norm, with enough room for everyone… None of the traditional causes of dispute between nations exists between Iran and Israel.” The problem for Israel isn’t Iran itself, but the Khomeinist regime – who would welcome an attack from Israel as a way to strengthen itself within Iran. “They face a difficult election next spring, with the threat of another insurrection against their corrupt and bloody rule. A bombing raid would give them an excuse to crush the opposition in the name of national unity and claim fresh legitimacy.”

Israel’s “war rhetoric”. An editorial in The Tehran Times claimed that a military attack on Iran could not be a “viable option” for Israel – it wouldn’t put a stop to Iran’s nuclear program, would strengthen Iran’s “national cohesion”, and invite unhesitating retaliation. Instead, Israel’s “war rhetoric” must be an attempt to trigger another round of sanctions on Iran.

Russia and china react. Israel’s ominous hinting at an attack on Iran seems calculated to put pressure on UN Security council members Russia and China, often roadblocks to action on Iran, to agree to tougher sanctions. Russia, however, has criticized the IAEA for releasing the report, claiming that it focuses too much on the past and will add to tensions with Iran, Bloomberg reported. China, for its part, urged Iran to show “flexibility and sincerity” over its nuclear program and said that the Iranian nuclear issue should be solved through “dialogue and cooperation”. Both Security Council powers were explicitly against any attack or show of force against Iran.

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