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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