Jerusalem, Nov. 7 – Intelligence provided to United Nations nuclear officials appears to confirm that Iran has actively developed the technology to produce nuclear weapons, The Washington Post revealed Monday.
More details are being leaked in advance of the potentially damning International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report that is expected to be released November 8 or 9 and confirm that Iran lied about the intentions of its nuclear development. Western diplomats and nuclear experts briefed on the findings of the report described an Iranian research program to make and test a nuclear weapon to be fitted to Iranian-made missiles, the Post reported.
“After 2003, money was made available for research in areas that sure look like nuclear-weapons work but were hidden within civilian institutions,” David Albright, head of the respected Institute for Science and International Security told the Post. The Washington-based institute conducts independent analyses of nuclear programs in countries around the world.
Over the weekend, a senior Saudi Arabian official warned that if Iran succeeded in developing nuclear weapons, his country would have no choice but to develop its own. The Pakistan Observer daily newspaper reported that comments by former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal revealed worsening relations between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and fears by Gulf Cooperation Council members that Iran is gaining a disproportionate military advantage.
Saudi Arabian leaders felt so threatened that it was revealed last year that Saudi monarch King Abdullah called on the United States to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran to “cut off the head of the snake.”
Details of the report are anxiously awaited in Israel in light of the repeated threats of Iranian leaders to “wipe Israel off the map.” Israel’s largest circulation daily Yediot Aharonot reported that the IAEA report is expected to be the key turning point that will result in extreme pressure against Iran by the international community and harsher sanctions, rather than a trigger for a military intervention.
In Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Andrew J. Shapiro emphasized that the national interests of the United States and Israel “are strongly in sync” in confronting what he termed “Iranian aggression.” Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Shapiro said America’s “commitment to Israel's security is rooted in our shared values and outlook.”