The White House said a new report on Iran’s nuclear program by United Nations weapons inspectors does not suggest that Iran is further along in its efforts to manufacture or obtain a nuclear explosive.
“The IAEA does not assert that Iran has resumed a full scale nuclear weapons program nor does it have a program about how advanced the programs really are,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call. The official was speaking on background.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has released a report which it says has credible evidence that Iran has carried "out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device”, but has offered no estimate of how long it would take Iran to be able to produce a nuclear weapon.
Though many Iran critics have focused on the report's claims that Iran continues to participate in activities that indicate interest in building a bomb, the administration chose to focus on the IAEA’s conclusions that a “structured program” to develop a nuclear warhead was halted in 2003. “The organization … that was conducting it was disbanding…and the headquarters…was subsequently bulldozed, so it no longer exists,” the official said.
“We will continue to consult with allies around the world on next steps,” another official said. The U.S. has kept mum about reports that Israel’s patience has run out and that that country is preparing for air strikes against known nuclear facilities.
President Obama has argued for years that selected sanctions designed to isolate Iran, combined with periodic overtures to the Iranian people, and topped off by a healthy amount of covert action, would be enough to keep the Iranian nuclear program from maturing to a point where the country could pose an existential threat to Israel.