5 years, 8 months ago
From Ynet News, this article:
The Iranian regime is closer than ever before to creating a nuclear bomb, according to RAND Corporation researcher Gregory S. Jones.
At its current rate of uranium enrichment, Tehran could have enough for its first bomb within eight weeks, Jones said in a report published this week.
The full RAND Corporation report is available here.
The report, titled, “Iran’s Nuclear Future, Critical U.S. Policy Choices,” was prepared specifically for the U.S. Air Force. The report takes a four-step approach and in the first three steps it analyzes Iran’s nuclear program in the context of the Middle East and suggests broad policy options before getting to specifics relevant to the Air Force. From my review of the report, it is assumed that Iran has or will soon have, at the very least, latent nuclear capabilities, i.e., the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear device while not openly demonstrating or testing that ability. The report suggests several approaches for trying to dissuade Iran from fully developing a nuclear capability and, in the event that Iran does proceed with nukes, various approaches for containing or dissuading their use.
The significance of the Ynet article is the indication by one of the RAND researchers that it is already too late to stop the Iranian nuclear program by air power alone. According to Gregory S. Jones:
He added that despite reports of setbacks in its nuclear program, the Iranian regime is steadily progressing towards a bomb. Unfortunately, Jones says, there is nothing the US can do to stop Tehran, short of military occupation.
The researcher based his report on recent findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), published two weeks ago. Making the bomb will take around two months, he says, because constructing a nuclear warhead is a complicated step in the process.
Jones stresses that stopping Iran will require deploying forces on the ground, because airstrikes are no longer sufficient. The reality is that the US and Israel have failed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear warhead whenever it wants, Jones says.
If this is an accurate assessment, then the world has gotten far more dangerous and America will pay a very steep price for having elected a President who was willing to allow the Iranian Regime an additional two years for nuclear development. This does not absolve, by any means, George W. Bush for his malfeasance on this issue. He should never have declared that Iran would not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon if he meant to simply kick the can down the road to the next President. Nonetheless, there is no denying that Obama was handed a golden opportunity to fundamentally change the Middle East in 2009 when the Iranian people rose up to demand their political freedom from the brutal regime. Allowing that regime to crush the uprising was an unforgivable error and no amount of Bush bashing will ever change that fact.
If there is any hope in the current predicament it lies in the 2012 U.S. elections and the possibility that a new President will have the skill and determination to support regime change in Iran. After all the false promises of the so-called “Arab Spring,” Iran may be the one place in the Middle East where a true, Western democracy can actually emerge, one that no longer poses a grave threat to the U.S. and its allies in the region.