News / Middle East

IAEA Report Strengthens Suspicions Iran's Nuclear Program Not Peaceful

IAEA Report Strengthens Suspicions Iran's Nuclear Program Not Peaceful
IAEA Report Strengthens Suspicions Iran's Nuclear Program Not Peaceful

The U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran has obtained enough sensitive material and expertise that it could build a nuclear weapon relatively quickly if it wanted to. The new evidence reinforces Western suspicions that Tehran's nuclear ambitions are not peaceful as it has long claimed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already dismissed the International Atomic Energy Agency's report, released on Tuesday.

"The IAEA is just publishing reports provided by American officials," he said.

The report suggests that Iran has the materials and the knowhow to produce a nuclear warhead in a matter of months.

Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says Iran is dispersing the materials and has unidentified underground facilities.

"Now all of this confronts everyone with the question: 'How long do you go on negotiating? At what point do you actually say the military option has to be used or we have to decide to let them have a nuclear device?,'" Cordesman said.

Israel has long seen Iran's nuclear program as a mortal threat. Reports last week said that Israel is considering a preemptive strike. The U.S. has also not ruled out military action.

Israel's 1981 strike against Iraq's Osirek reactor is believed to have crippled Saddam Hussein's nuclear program.

But Cordesman says Israel knows attacking Iran would be much riskier.

"It has to believe that its current exercises and tests would actually allow it to hit Iran's key facilities, to destroy the underground and sheltered facilities, to locate all of the enriched material, to stop the centrifuge effort long enough to have real meaning," Cordesman said.

Peter Crail of the Arms Control Association in Washington says having nuclear capabilities would make Iran more assertive in the region.  "Essentially that it may be able to more freely use Hezbollah or other proxies to attack Israel or countries that it has difficult relations with without fearing that it risks an attack itself," Crail said.

Crail concedes that sanctions against Iran have had limited success. But he says the IAEA report will harm Iran's international standing.

"Whereas Iran prides itself on being a leader of the developing world, on the nuclear issue it champions itself as being - it's only working to preserve the rights to peaceful energy and there are a lot of developing countries that have bought into that," Crail said.

But he says if major developing countries can be persuaded to isolate Iran, then its leaders will think twice about actually producing a nuclear weapon.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More