U.N.’s Nuclear Agency Reports on Iran’s Rapid Progress — Time to Sound the Alarm?

The steady drone of medium-level alarm bells about Iran continues, but the latest report by United Nations nuclear inspectors  contains nothing that requires urgent action.

Israel has been alarmed for over a decade, now, by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s march toward nuclear capability — and our book chronicles the historic shift of priorities by Israeli intelligence: devoting less attention to Palestinian politics so as to be focused with laser-beam attention on Iran.

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency has several troubling aspects, including Iran’s rapid progress on a few paths that could lead to nuclear weapons.

Julian Borger of Britain’s The Guardian notes, however, that Iran has apparently continued to take great care to stay below the “red line” set by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech at the U.N. in New York last September.

Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad, is monitoring all this very carefully, and Netanyahu is surely interested in every detail that can be plucked out of Iran.

Yet his new coalition government is distracted by many subjects — and notably has failed to reach agreement on its posture toward a possible “two-state solution” with the Palestinians, even as America’s Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Jerusalem and Ramallah for another attempt at mediating a return to negotiations.

Even though Barack Obama, on his first trip to Israel as President in March, said he respects Israel’s right to make its own decisions on how best to defend itself, it is crystal clear that the United States still wants Israel to act with restraint: to give negotiations and sanctions more time to be effective.

American analysts feel the IAEA’s latest report still points to the likelihood that it would take Iran one year at a minimum — and perhaps two years — before it could produce a deliverable nuclear weapon.

May 22, 2013

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