IISS: Teheran could have nukes in '09

Report backs US dialogue with Iran; separate report says Israel should engage "moderate Arab states."

Iran Nuclear 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Iran Nuclear 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran will most likely have produced enough enriched uranium to make an atomic bomb by the end of 2009, according to a paper released Tuesday by Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He clarified, however that before the uranium could be used for a nuclear weapon, it would have to be further enriched. Fitzpatrick said that this reality brings up "the question of whether military action is needed in the absence of progress in diplomacy." The London-based institute's report, titled "The Adelphi Paper" assessed that the Iranian nuclear threat "can only be solved if Iran makes a strategic decision not to seek a nuclear weapons capability." "Based on Iran's past diplomacy, it can be expected to neither accept nor reject proposed restrictions, but rather to shunt them aside through non-responsive counter-proposals and endless negotiation and filibuster," Fitzpatrick surmised. Nonetheless, Fitzpatrick concluded that the best way to minimize the threat from the Iranian Republic would be to reinforce the "cooperation or isolation" line. "If Iran continues to defy the [UN] Security Council, its enrichment program can be constrained and delayed by export controls, sanctions, financial pressure, interdiction and other means of exploiting Iran's vulnerabilities," said the report. Echoing sentiments expressed by US President Barack Obama overnight Monday, Fitzpatrick said that, "The West, in particular the United States, should seek to engage Iran." Meanwhile, another IISS statement released Tuesday advised Israel to find common ground with "moderate Arab states" to garner support for its battles against terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah. "Israel's strategic goal should be to find a way by which it can develop greater legitimacy for itself among moderate Arab states, which could then offer fuller support to Israel in whatever ongoing battles it may have with non-state actors such as Hamas and Hizbullah," the statement said. The statement also opined that upcoming Knesset elections and the settling-in period to follow would slow the process of reaching a peace agreement in the Middle East. Addressing the Palestinian political sphere, the statement assessed that Operation Cast Lead in Gaza had raised Hamas's position of power, and caused "the proportionate decline in the reputation among Palestinians of Fatah." It added, however, that the change in the balance of power was likely temporary. The statement noted that although Israeli deterrence may have been marginally restored by the IDF's operation, Hamas continued to pose a threat to Israeli security. "Moderate Arab states that see Hamas as a threat and as an Iranian proxy are placed in a difficult position," it added.