Iran is proclaiming significant gains in its nuclear program, progress that Western officials and experts say could effectively erase setbacks from recent cyber attacks and shorten the timeline for acquiring nuclear weapons.
Scientists from Iran's atomic energy program, in announcements over the past three days, said they have successfully tested advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium and are less than a month away from starting the country's first commercial nuclear reactor. The announcements, linked to the observance of "nuclear technology day" in Tehran, underscore recent assessments by intelligence officials and Western nuclear experts suggesting that Iran is preparing to speed up its production of enriched uranium.
Although many of the advances have not been fully implemented, the apparent progress has prompted some experts to redraw their forecasts for how quickly the country could build an atomic arsenal if it chose to do so.
If I were an Iranian leader, and I was watching how the West is treating the nuclear-free Muammar Qaddafi, I would certainly be redoubling my efforts to cross the nuclear threshold. After all, you don't see a no-fly zone over North Korea, do you? There's a reason for that. There won't be any such thing as a no-fly-zone over a country that is known for sure to possess nuclear weapons.