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July 16, 2009

German intelligence agency: 'Iran capable of having atomic bomb in six months' (Updated)

Topics: Iran, Political News and commentaries
Update: Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND denied the below-referenced report in a magazine on Wednesday that its experts believe Iran is capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months. (Hat tip - Haas)

However, the substance of the BND denial conflicts with a March 2009 Fox News report that Iran can develop a nuclear weapon within a year and has ready access to enough fissile material to produce up to 50 nuclear weapons, according to a panel of current and former U.S. officials advising the Obama administration.

While Barack Obama continues to say it is "important" to talk to Iran and to "encourage" them to renounce nuclear weapons, it appears that Iran has been on the fast track to develop an atomic bomb and is capable of producing and testing a nuclear weapon within six months.

That's the word from Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency according to a report in German weekly Stern, as reported by Reuters.

Although Hillary Clinton, speaking to the Council of Foreign Relations yesterday, warned Iran that the U.S. offer to engage with it diplomatically "will not remain open indefinitely," and the time for the Islamic republic to act "is now" - the most hawkish statement to come out of the Obama administration so far, the implication is that the weapon of choice against Iran having a nuclear bomb is talk, talk, maybe some more useless sanctions, and more talk. And in the interim, Iran will have completed the development of atomic weapons. The pattern is clear, it's what Iran has been doing for almost 30 years.

As Yonah Alexander and Milton Hoenig wrote in the Middle East Times back on December 18, 2007:

The absence of a universal consensus in the international community on the Iranian unconventional challenge stems from the mastery of the rulers in Tehran in concealing their own intentions, dispositions, and actions -- thereby dividing their perceived adversaries in their efforts to arrive at common policies and actions.

More specifically, one reason that Iran is successful in undermining a workable political,
economic, and military strategy to deal effectively with the nuclear challenge is the fact that since the revolution in 1979 its leadership has brilliantly understood the lessons of history in developing their statecraft both internally and externally. The ayatollahs and currently President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have applied the "best practices" of statesmen provided by Sun Tzu, the legendary strategist of the 4th Century B.C. who asserted that "the acme of skill is not winning a hundred victories in a hundred battles, but to subdue the armies of the enemy without fighting." This means that Tehran's ambition to become a nuclear nation must be based on deception and developed in the "shadows."

This calculated approach to gain hegemony in the region and beyond must be seen against the background of the complex relationship between Shiite theology; apocalyptic visions that see universal chaos in preparation for the return of the Hidden Imam, and nonreligious political decision-making such as the motivations for Iran's security policies, including terrorism sponsorship and nuclear program development.

After all, the Shiite-Sunni and Persian-Arab tensions and conflicts only underscore one segment of the nature of the Iranian challenge to the entire international community. Better understanding of the extent of the religious, political, and military roles of Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as other individuals operating within the government structure, is an important element in crafting a coherent and realistic strategy in coping with Tehran's threats to the Middle East and other regions.

A review of Iran's ability to deceive the international community as to its nuclear program clearly indicates Tehran's "modus operandi" of deception in buying time until it achieves its
unconventional goal.

[...] Iran may be able to acquire a nuclear bomb in this way by 2010, or perhaps earlier. It may not be a sophisticated compact design deliverable on a ballistic missile, but it could reek horrendous consequences if, for instance, it were sent by freighter into the port of Ashdod or Haifa in Israel, concealed under a shipment of pistachio nuts, which Israel continues to import from Iran.

In summary, both Iranian terrorism in general and the nuclear threat in particular carry the
potential of crossing "red-lines" in the foreseeable future. Tragically, Tehran's extraordinary art of deceit for almost 30 years does not bode well for the decades to come. (Emphasis mine)

Take the time to read the entire piece, and you'll find that nothing has changed since 2007, and nothing will. absent military intervention. Note that the authors predict that Iran may be able to acquire a nuclear bomb in this way by 2010 - within the exact time frame estimated by German intelligence today. And the authors made that prediction back in 2007.

While Obama "engages" with talk and perhaps later - too late - sanctions, Iran is moving full speed ahead to complete their nuclear weapons program. And no amount of "talking" or sanctions is going to deter them. This, while even Obama himself has admitted that a nuclear Iran is a "grave" threat to the United States.

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Posted by Richard at July 16, 2009 6:35 AM

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