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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs