February 20, 2010

Iran developing a nuclear weapon? I am shocked, shocked...

According to a report just issued by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, there is "extensive evidence of past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.

In the words of Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, I am shocked, shocked!

Finally, the IAEA has said what it has refused to say for years. This comes just after the naming of a new director general for the agency. Yukiya Amano, from Japan, replaced Egyptian Muhammad al-Barada'i in November 2009 - a refreshing change. Al-Barada'i seemed to be unable to find nuclear weapons programs anywhere, especially in the Middle East.

The new report concludes that Iran has been working continuously on a weapons programs for years, despite a U.S. intelligence community National Intelligence Estimate published in 2007 that assessed that Iran had stopped work on its program in 2003. Most sane observors and analysts have rejected that report - in fact, both candidates in the 2008 Presidential race stated they believed that Iran was working on a nuclear weapon.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has seen the light, but the Administration continues to downplay the threat from Iran. Officials say there is no concrete evidence that Iran has renewed its program. This is not a court of law and we do not need the rules of evidence for intelligence analysis. Intelligence analysis is by its nature attempting to figure out what someone else is doing with only pieces of information.

According to the IAEA, not only is Iran enriching uranium, it is testing methods to detonate a nuclear device and researching a warhead design small enough to fit their ballistic missiles. That should be of real concern to the American intelligence community.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani called the IAEA report politically motivated and influenced by Western governments. It was hardly the American government pushing the IAEA - the U.S administration seems to be bending over backward to avoid stating that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Why? Easy - if they admit it, then they have to do something about it.

President Obama has yet to unequivocally state, as his predecessor did, that the United States will not permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon. It is becoming quite clear that he has no intention of preventing them from doing so. Mr. President, now that even the usually feckless IAEA has gone on record that the Iranian program is likely a weapons program, what do you intend to do?

I am afraid I already know the answer, and in this case, I will not be shocked....