An Associated Press report that new intelligence reveals Iran is moving closer to nuclear capability strengthens Israel’s position and could not come at a worse time for United States President Barack Obama.
The news agency said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that Iran has made progress in calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead, which presumably would be used as a threat to destroy Israel.
The sources of the new intelligence are the two unidentified Western countries, plus the United States and Israel.
The IAEA warned nearly a year ago that Iran is conducting research on several fronts to develop a nuclear weapon, including computer modeling. Aerial photos in the past year have shown that Iran has been trying to sanitize sites where explosions may have been carried out to test nuclear weapons.
Iran’s claim that its nuclear development is only for peaceful purposes is doubted or rejected by virtually the entire Western world, although Israel is more vocal than others.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration have been locked in an indirect debate the past week on whether red lines and deadlines should be set for Iran. The latest report weakens President Obama’s insistence that such measures are not necessary.
The latest intelligence apparently also pokes more holes in American claims in 2003, counter to Israeli intelligence information, that Iran stopped secret research and development of components of a nuclear weapon.
The report by the Associated Press also is bad timing for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is to deliver a speech in the United Nations in two weeks, the same day Jews around the world fast and pray on the Yom Kippur holiday.
The occasion casts a coincidental – or not so coincidental – contrast between Jews fasting and praying for a year of health and happiness and Ahmadinejad. He will deliver what is likely to be a tirade against the West and the “Zionist regime” and a defense of Iran as a country that desires peace. He previously has said that Iranians enjoy more freedom and human rights, especially for women, than in the United States.
Arutz Sheva previously has suggested that Ahmadinejad may be able to justify nuclear development for peaceful purposes by theorizing that, in his ideology, the world would be a more peaceful place if Israel were destroyed.