There is no shortage of US officials making broad statements accusing the Iranian government of attempting to develop a nuclear weapon, but after last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran yielded no interesting allegations to latch onto, US Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schulte has tried to novel strategy of accusing Iran of something it is known to be doing and then speculating about the future.
Schulte does not dispute that Iran’s well-known uranium enrichment program may well be, as the IAEA has repeatedly certified, for civilian purposes. But the ambassador thinks it is entirely “plausible” that a scenario might arise at some unknown future date where Iran might use that enrichment program to attempt to produce a nuclear weapon.
Iran’s enrichment program is meant to create fuel for a civilian nuclear power plant being constructed by Russia. As of last month IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran lacked even the nuclear material to produce a single atomic weapon, assuming they attempted to divert all their resources to that end. Since then there has been some speculation that Iran may or may not now have enough to produce a single weapon, speculation which may have played a role in the Israeli military’s call to discreetly prepare to attack Iran.