The IAEA released its latest report on Iran’s nuclear program, generating a range of responses from arms control groups, government officials, and policymakers in various countries. Here is what some fo them had to say:
Arms control groups respond
Arms Control Association:
The IAEA report and annex reinforce what the nonproliferation community has recognized for some time: that Iran engaged in various nuclear weapons development activities until 2003, then stopped many of them, but continued others. […] The report suggests that Iran is working to shorten the timeframe to building the bomb once and if it makes that decision. But it is also apparent that a nuclear-armed Iran is still not imminent nor is it inevitable.
Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation says “New Details on Iran Don’t Change the Game”:
While Iran’s nuclear program continues to make progress, an Iranian nuclear weapon is not imminent and the U.S. intelligence community continues to believe that Iran has yet to make the political decision to build and test a nuclear weapon. […] The U.S. should be actively engaged in a discussion about how to change Iran’s nuclear calculus, and must continue to reiterate its commitment to further diplomatic engagement with Iran.
While this detailed report found no evidence that Iran has made a strategic decision to actually build a bomb, it indicated that Iran’s nuclear program is more ambitious and has made more progress than was previously known.
Europe diverges from China and Russia
China and Russia warned against military strikes and further sanctions. Russian leaders even expressed frustration with the level of details in the report saying that its release only made diplomacy with Iran harder. (Haaretz 11/10)
But France, Germany, and Britain called for further sanctions, with France’s foreign minister calling for measures on an “unprecedented scale.” British foreign minister William Hague said that Iran’s claim that their nuclear program was for peaceful purposes was now “completely discredited” by latest report. German foreign minister, however, drew the line at sanctions and shut the door on future military strikes against Iran. (Guardian 11/9)
Israel embracing war rhetoric
Israeli foreign minister Ehud Barak has called for “lethal” sanctions against Iran, and says a military strike is “closer by the day.” Israeli president Shimon Peres now believes that military options are more likely to occur than a diplomatic solution. (Huffington Post 11/10) (Haaretz 11/8)
White House keeps powder dry
The Administration only promised that further bilateral sanctions are being prepared against Iran. However, officials reiterated that Central Bank and oil sanctions were not on the table, noting, “there is not a whole lot out there other than the oil and gas market — and you know how sensitive that is. I don’t think we are there yet.” (Reuters 11/8 “U.S. mulls Iran sanctions but not on oil, central bank”)
The White House and State Department did hint that further action would take place at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting next Thursday, which could potentially set up a referral to the UN Security Council for further multilateral sanctions(New York Times 11/8) (State Dept. Daily Press Briefing 11/8).
Hawks in Congress call for CBI sanctions, eventual war Senator Mark Kirk announced he would introduce legislation to force the President to sanction Iran’s Central Bank (R-IL) while Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said stricter sanctions should be implemented even if they “hurt us or the people of Iran,” and that if that did not work, military strikes would have to follow. (Rogin The Cable 11/8)
Iran analysts’ perspectives on IAEA report
Barbara Slavin writes that attacking Iran’s nuclear program would not destroy its nuclear knowledge and ability to recreate its program, and that the Administration should use the report as leverage to reinvigorate diplomacy to make Iran come clean to the IAEA about its program. (Slavin Politico 11/8)
Time’s Tony Karon points out that a cost-benefit analysis regarding a potential strike on Iran should lead the US to avoid involvement in a preemptive attack on Iran. (Karon Times 11/8)
Trita Parsi suggests that the IAEA report highlights the need for the Obama administration to refocus on getting greater transparency mechanisms in place on Iran’s nuclear program instead of pursuing sanctions that have failed to stop the program. (Parsi Salon 11/8)
Bret Stephens states in moving forward with Iran we must either allow them to proceed with their nuclear program unhindered or we use military strikes to stop it. He believes that containing a nuclear armed Iran is not really an option. (Stephens Wall Street Journal 11/8)
Eric Edelman, Andrew Krepinevich Jr., and Evan Montgomery argue that a nuclear armed Iran would be a major proliferation risk that could trigger either a nuclear arms race in the region or a nuclear war with Israel. (Edelman et al Foreign Affairs 11/9)