US intelligenceâ€™s amended estimate, that Iran will be ready to build its first bomb just one month after the next US president is sworn in, as having been relayed as a guideline to the Middle East teams of both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.
The information prompted the assertion by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden in Seattle Sunday, Oct. 19: â€œIt will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.â€
McCain retorted Tuesday, Oct. 21: â€œAmerica does not need a president that needs to be tested. Iâ€™ve been tested. I was aboard the Enterprise off the coast of Cuba. Iâ€™ve been there.â€)
Military sources cite the new US timeline: By late January, 2009, Iran will have accumulated enough low-grade enriched uranium (up to 5%) for its â€œbreak-outâ€ to weapons grade (90%) material within a short time. For this, the Iranians have achieved the necessary technology. In February, they can move on to start building their first nuclear bomb.
US intelligence believes Tehran has the personnel, plans and diagrams for a bomb and has been running experiments to this end for the past two years. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last week asked Tehran to clarify recent complex experiments they conducted in detonating nuclear materials for a weapon, but received no answer.
The same US evaluation adds that the Iranian leadership is holding off its go-ahead to start building the bomb until the last minute so as to ward off international pressure to stop at the red line.
This development together with the galloping global economic crisis will force the incoming US president to go straight into decision-making without pause on Day One in the Oval Office. He will have to determine which urgent measures can serve best for keeping a nuclear bomb out of the Islamic republicâ€™s hands – diplomatic or military â€“ and how to proceed if those measures fail.
His knowledge of the challenge colored Sen. Bidenâ€™s additional words in Seattle: â€œRemember I said it standing here if you donâ€™t remember anything else I said. Watch, weâ€™re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.â€
Israelâ€™s political and military leaders also face a tough dilemma that can no longer be put off of whether to strike Iranâ€™s nuclear installations militarily in the next three months between US presidencies before the last window closes, or take a chance on coordination with the next president.
Waiting for the â€œinternational communityâ€ to do the job of stopping Iran, as urged by governments headed by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert – and strongly advocated Tzipi Livni, foreign minister and would-be prime minister – has been a washout. Iran stands defiantly on the threshold of a nuclear weapon.
[tags]iran, nuclear, terrorist, middle east, israel[/tags]