A report from The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was leaked on Saturday, reports that Iran may start building a nuclear bomb in a matter of months. The report makes the claim that Iranian President Ahmadinejad has a top secret explosive testing facility at a site just outside the capital, Tehran, and is conducting experiments. It is believed that foreign scientists are taking part in the Iranian program and that Iranian scientists are attempting to link a nuclear payload to their Shahab 3 missiles. International law allows nations to develop nuclear capacity, and also to develop missile technology, but it is illegal to attempt to link the two.
The report author, Yukiya Amano, says indications are that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear arsenal.
Iran has issued statements that the IAEA report is politically motivated, and ties in with speeches delivered in the United States and Israel.
In Saturday evening’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate, the Iranian threat was discussed at length. Many of the Republicans would, if elected to the presidency, continue and vastly strengthen sanctions against Iran. Experts agree that potential sanctions are weak, because of the number of Muslim nations that do not participate in sanctions, and who take the side of the Iranians.
Interestingly, several on the debate stage characterized the people of Iran as being in a position to form one more chapter of the “Arab Spring.” Experts agree that there is no potential for an Arab Spring in Iran, although much of the population is dissatisfied. Some Republicans used the term “nation building” in spite of the fact that the U.S. has taken a position that nation building is ineffective and costly, and in fact doesn’t work.
There were many on the podiums who would intervene militarily if all else failed, such interventions to include pre-emptive strikes against Iran. They may underestimate the ability of Iran to promote assistance from Muslim extremist organizations in the Near East, and even from distant Pakistan and Afghanistan. While it is praiseworthy to show support for Israel, it may be foolhardy to move too quickly in military measures. Some on the stage would reinforce American naval capacity, and American missile capacity. Few of the represented Republicans see any benefit to be derived from diplomatic dialogue.