Glyn Davies, the U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear arm of the United Nations, reports that Iran currently has enough nuclear fuel that, if enriched further, could be used to make a nuclear weapon.
According to The New York Times, Davies claims that Iran currently has “possible breakout capacity” should it continue to enrich its stockpile of uranium.
However, new intelligence gathered by the White House shows that Iran deliberately halted progress before it got to the last steps necessary to make a bomb.
Iran, which claims that its nuclear program is purely for civilian and energy use, recently issued a package of proposals to the United Nations regarding new negotiations with Western countries.
However, according to CNN, U.S. State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley deemed the proposals “not really responsive” to international concerns.
He also said that Iran insisted the nuclear issue was closed, but he said, “That is certainly not the case.”
Iran claims that according to the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has the right to enrich uranium to produce civilian fuel.
Many countries, however, do not think that Iran’s enrichment is solely for civilian use.
Earlier this year, a U.N. report concluded that there were ‘military dimensions’ to Iran’s nuclear program.
According to Jen Ziemke, a political science professor at John Carroll University, “A nuclear Iran is just one component of what appears to be an ongoing and significant realignment of the balance of power and alliance formation across the Middle East.”
Another major player in the Iranian nuclear discussion is Israel.
Iran and Israel have an adversarial relationship and there have been verbal shots between the two nations in the past.
Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said in 2005 that Israel needed to be, “wiped off the map,” and Israel has sworn to defend itself against and Iranian threat.
This rivalry puts the United States in a precarious position between the two rivals.
The Obama administration is pushing for diplomacy and is waiting for Iran to respond in order to begin a dialogue.
The administration believes that Iran is acting harshly because it feels pressure and fear of further tough U.N. sanctions.
Ziemke said, “Time is of the essence and the Obama administration should make it clear to the Iranians that the longer they wait, the worse their bargaining or negotiating position will be with respect to the international community.” She continued, “there is no advantage to be gained from stalled or delayed negotiations.”
However, according to The New York Times, with the increasing threat of a nuclear-armed Iranian regime, Israel has been ramping up talks about military action against Iran. They are skeptical that any sort of U.S. diplomatic dialogue will work with the rogue nation.
Ziemke said, “The goal of the international community at this point in the game, should be to offer convincing alternate conceptions about the future in which neither side finds it in their advantage to take that deadly first step. We must not allow the situation to deteriorate to the point where both sides come to view the conflict as inevitable or imminent.”
They are skeptical that any sort of U.S. diplomatic dialogue will work with the rogue nation. According to The New York Times, some Obama administration officials believe that Israel is creating worst-case scenarios as a method to put pressure on the White House to act.
The report released by Davies also predicts that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015. However, all evidence points that the date would be closer to the latter.