If Israel attempts such a high-risk and destabilizing strike against Iran, President Obama will probably learn of the operation from CNN rather than the CIA. History shows that although Washington seeks influence over Israel’s military operations, Israel would rather explain later than ask for approval in advance of launching preventive or preemptive attacks. Those hoping that the Obama administration will be able to pressure Israel to stand down from attacking Iran as diplomatic efforts drag on are mistaken.
The current infighting among Iran’s leaders also has led some to incorrectly believe that Tehran’s nuclear efforts will stall. As Friday’s International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s nuclear programs revealed, throughout the political crises of the last three months, Iran’s production rate for centrifuges has remained steady, as has its ability to produce uranium hexafluoride to feed into the centrifuges. [continued…]
International nuclear inspectors reported on Friday that Iran had significantly increased its ability to produce nuclear fuel over the summer, even while slowing the pace at which it was enriching the uranium that the West fears could one day fuel nuclear weapons.
The slowdown puzzled the inspectors, and Iran offered no clues about whether technical problems or political considerations accounted for its action.
Nonetheless, outside nuclear experts who dissected the agency’s latest report — a critical one because it comes just as the United States and its European allies are debating far more damaging sanctions against Iran — said that if Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium was further purified, it would have nearly two warheads’ worth of bomb fuel. [continued…]