New York, Nov. 4 – The international community is watching closely for the release next week of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report, which is expected to outline Iran’s plans for a nuclear weapon – including proof that the Islamic republic has tested nuclear warheads and similar devices.
The report, due out on Tuesday (Nov. 8), has caused widespread and vocal concern among several countries, including the UK and the United States. Israel, like other countries, has said a military option is on the table but remains a last and least desired option.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned this week of the dangers of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. “A nuclear Iran will be a dire threat to the Middle East and the entire world, and it is of course a direct and grave threat to us,” said Netanyahu, adding that an “attack capability” is Israel’s “cornerstone of deterrence.”
Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported this week that the UK was conducting exercises to prepare for a potential attack on Iran in conjunction with the United States. But at a meeting Thursday (Nov. 3) in Paris, U.S. President Barack Obama said he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are focused on stepping up sanctions to stop Iran; the international community already has approved four rounds of sanctions on Iran.
“President Sarkozy and I agree on the need to maintain the unprecedented pressure on Iran to meet its obligations,” said Obama, adding that such pressure includes enforcing the existing U.N. resolutions calling for Iran to cease enriching uranium.
In the meantime, a U.S. Congressional committee is pushing for approval of stronger sanctions on Iran, an option that a senior Israeli official has said is still a viable answer for stopping Iran.