The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran may still be working toward a bomb
Iran's Head of Atomic Energy Organization Abbasi-Davani speaks at the 55th IAEA General Conference in Vienna / Reuters
The Obama administration insists that a major new U.N. report on Iran's nuclear program does not imply that Iran is significantly further along in its efforts to manufacture or obtain a nuclear explosive. But officials on Tuesday challenged Iran to respond to evidence that it continues to work clandestinely to build an atomic bomb.
President Obama has argued that harsh 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, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region. The report on Tuesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency will give opponents of that policy another whack, even though it does suggest that Iran isn't any closer to actually having or using a weapon. Even allies of Obama, however, are alarmed.
"Since 2002, the agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the agency has regularly received new information," the IAEA's report concludes.