Dispatches > News
Ahmadinejad/Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI/Landov

Iran's gamble

Israel 'more and more likely' to strike against Tehran's threatening nuclear arsenal

Issue: "Border bandits," Dec. 3, 2011

More than 1,000 pages of intelligence and a decade of research led the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to declare what many suspected for years: Iran is likely using the guise of energy research to develop nuclear weapons.

The agency's Nov. 8 report wasn't full of new findings, but it did connect the dots between years' worth of data on Iran's nuclear capacities and confirmed U.S. officials' worries that the rogue nation could be edging toward a nuclear arsenal.

The study included reports that Iran has developed facilities to test nuclear explosions, and that Iranian researchers have engaged in computer modeling of a nuclear warhead. Such research would belie Iran's claims that the nation is only pursuing nuclear energy.

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U.S. officials warned that Iran must answer the report or face the possibility of more sanctions. Israeli President Shimon Peres warned that sanctions may not deter Iran's nuclear intentions, particularly against Israel: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel's destruction.

Three days before IAEA officially released its report, Peres told a privately owned Israeli television network that a military strike against Iran was growing "more and more likely," though it's unclear if the Israeli president could garner support within his security cabinet to launch an attack.

Iranian officials denied the IAEA's claims, and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that any aggressors against Iran would be "smashed from the inside." He added: "The Iranian nation is not a nation that only sits and watches threats coming from straw powers, which are internally eaten by worms."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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