Obama: What Iranian nuclear weapons program?

Dean Calma/IAEA

All eyes were on the Iranian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as he delivered his statement at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, Nov. 23, 2007.

Article Highlights

  • Will Obama take the lead on Iran's illicit nuclear activity?

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  • Would Obama consider the military option to strike Iran's nuclear efforts?

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  • IAEA summons more outrage about Iran's illicit weapons program than Obama administration

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Here’s what the IAEA had to say today about an Iranian nuclear weapons program:

The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

• Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);

• Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);

• The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and

• Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).

While some of the activities identified in the Annex have civilian as well as military applications, others are specific to nuclear weapons.

The information indicates that prior to the end of 2003 the above activities took place under a structured programme. There are also indications that some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device continued after 2003, and that some may still be ongoing.

Here’s what a “senior administration official” said in reaction:

The IAEA does not assert that Iran has resumed a full scale nuclear weapons program nor does it have a program about how advanced the programs really are.

 Two points:

1)       I have long wondered whether Obama, desperate to distract the electorate from his feckless economic policies, would consider the military option to strike Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The answer to that appears to be, no, if not hell no.

2)      The IAEA has managed to summon up more outrage about Iran’s illicit weapons programs than the Obama administration, which seems to view its role as chief obfuscator for Tehran. Astonishing.

Danielle Pletka is vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


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