NEWS & ANALYSIS: Iran’s nuclear progress report

U.S. dismisses nuclear report on Iran

The much-anticipated report on Iran by the head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was released this week confirms “substantial progress” in Iran’s cooperation with the agency and the steady resolution of disputed issues and, yet, the US government has reacted swiftly by belittling Iran’s cooperation and maintaining its aggressive push for a new round of United Nations sanctions on Iran.

By arguing that “selective cooperation is not enough”, to paraphrase the US’s envoy to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, the US now hopes that the report’s other finding, that Iran has not suspended the enrichment-related activities as demanded by the UN, will suffice to persuade the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, chiefly Russia and China, to endorse tougher Iran sanctions.

But, this may not be so easy in light of the depth and scope of Iran’s genuine cooperation, the IAEA’s confirmation of consistency of new Iranian information with their own independent investigations, and the sheer absence of any evidence of nuclear weapons proliferation in Iran. [complete article]

U.N. debate looms over Iran sanctions

A report by the U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency released Thursday sets the stage for renewed debate in the Security Council over whether Iran should face tougher sanctions because of its nuclear program.

The United States, France and Britain said the report shows that Iran’s nuclear technology was advancing while the agency’s knowledge and oversight of it was diminishing. And the three pushed for more penalties against Tehran.

China and Russia, however, argued that harsher sanctions would derail what the agency called Iran’s “substantial progress” on answering questions about its nuclear past. [complete article]

Iran nuke in “18 months”? Unlikely

For the better part of a year, the New York Times has been screaming bloody murder about Iran’s nuclear program – specifically, about the Ayatollahs’ nerds putting a few thousands centrifuges into action. The latest cause for panic: a new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which “confirmed for the first time that Iran has now crossed the major milestone of putting 3,000 centrifuges into operation, a tenfold increase from just a year ago. In theory, that means that Iran could produce enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon within a year to 18 months.”

Yeah, in theory.

But the thing is, it’s hard to run those centrifuges non-stop. [complete article]

Israel braces for Iran bomb despite vow to prevent

Israel is quietly preparing for the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran despite public pledges to deny its arch-foe the means to pose an “existential threat”, Israeli political and defence sources said on Thursday.

They said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has instructed cabinet officials to draft proposals on how Israel, whose security strategy is widely assumed to hinge on having the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, might deal with losing this monopoly. [complete article]

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