Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameni has ordered the revolutionary guards to "immediately" proceed with the completion of an atomic bomb with hopes of a test in 2012, Iran Press News reports.
The order includes testing and arming of missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload, according to sources inside the Revolutionary Guards, the report says.
According to the report Khameini's order stems from the belief that Israel and the United States lack the courage to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and that they are "frozen in place and confused as to what action to take."
Iran has said US-backed sanctions have had 'no effect.'
Khameini and his advisors have - according to the report - concluded from Western inaction that the time is ripe for the Iranian regime to become a nuclear-armed state without any interference from the outside.
Reports of an Iranian nuke in 2012 have been increasingly common in the past several months.
An article, entitled “The Day After after the Iranian Nuclear Test Will be a Normal Day,” recently appeared on an Iranian website, Gerdab.ir, which is run by the Revolutionary Guards.
Presenting numerous would-be fantasy headlines for the day after an Iranian nuclear test, the site sets up the day-dreamt scenario: "In the deserts of central Iran, where the Americans and some western countries wanted to bury their nuclear waste, an underground nuclear explosion has occured."
Among the many faux headlines that follow one reads, "Washington Post: 'Iran's nuclear explosion, consternation in Tel Aviv.'"
The article then says the day after an Iranian bomb test, "Everyone will be able to go about their business as usual, but in the eyes of many we will have new power. It will be a day for Iranians to be filled with pride."
Perhaps more disturbing is the Quaranic verse the article ends with (Al Enfal 60):
"And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah."
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday Iran was fulfilling "all its duties" towards the IAEA, the UN's atomic energy watchdog.
Iran, which for years only enriched uranium to the 3.5 percent level out of fear of retaliation by the international community, recently moved its enrichment efforts to an underground facility and raised its enrichment levels to 20 percent. Twenty percent enrichment is a significant step towards what is needed for weaponization and far more than is needed to generate electrical power.
Iran reportedly has over 3600 kilograms of enriched uranium at 3.5 percent, enough for three nuclear bombs if enriched further. It also has an announced inventory of 40 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium. If true, it would take Iran 2-3 months to further enrich their stockpile into 20 kilograms of enriched uranium over 90 percent, sufficient for one nuclear warhead.
The IAEA revealed in a recent report that Iran has sought and experimented with certain technologies that could make a type of atom bomb known as an implosion device, considered more advanced than the bomb America used on Hiroshima.