November 15, 2011
According to the briefing given to a closed meeting of Jewish leaders in New York Sunday, Nov. 13, the window of opportunity for stopping Iran attaining a nuclear weapon is closing fast, DEBKAfile’s sources report. It will shut down altogether after late March 2012. The intelligence reaching US President Barak Obama is that by April, Iran will already have five nuclear bombs or warheads and military action then would generate a dangerous level of radioactive contamination across the Gulf region, the main source of the world’s energy.
Sunday, too, President Barack Obama said the sanctions against Iran had taken an “enormous bite” out of its economy. He also said that the “US is united with Russian and Chinese leaders in ensuring Iran does not develop an atomic weapon and unleash an arms race across the Middle East.”
He spoke after talking to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii about the new evidence submitted by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was engaged in clandestine efforts to build a bomb.
He said both shared the goal of keeping a bomb out of Iran’s hands.
As to sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference that sanctions against Iran had been exhausted and “now the problem should be solved though diplomatic channels.”
DEBKAfile’s analysts note that tough sanctions are pretty much off the table now. In any case, it is obvious that they failed to slow down Iran’s work on a bomb as confirmed by the latest IAEA report.
The road of diplomacy, favored by Moscow, has proved worse than ineffectual. Its only result was to buy time for Tehran to carry on with its military atomic project free of international pressure.
Obama went on to say Sunday that, while his strong preference was to resolve the Iran issue diplomatically, “We are not taking any options off the table. Iran with nuclear weapons would pose a threat not only to the region but also to the United States.”
This was the first time the US president had called a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to the United States. Until now, official statements limited the threat to “America’s regional interests and influence.”
The Jewish leaders meeting Sunday were informed that the Obama administration had intelligence data that the US and Israel have no more than a couple of months left for striking down Iran’s military weapons development by force. This will not longer be viable after Iran is armed with five nuclear bombs or warheads.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources refute the wild rumors alleging that the American CIA or Israeli Mossad was responsible for the massive explosion Saturday at a Revolutionary Guards base west of Tehran in which Iran’s missile chief Brig. Hassan Moghadam was killed.
While both organizations have formidable capabilities which Iran has experienced in the past, there is no way – even with a UAV – they could have hit a single missile warhead in the middle of a Guards base at the very moment that IRGC chiefs were gathered around considering how best to improve its precision.
All the evidence garnered in the two days since the attack indicates that a single warhead blew up by accident while it was being handled, rather than by sabotage.