NewsSpecial WireIran a growing nuclear threat – U.S. expert

Iran a growing nuclear threat – U.S. expert

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Iran Focus: London, Nov. 17 – An American expert on Iran affairs warned the United States government that the world was facing a real threat of a nuclear-armed Iran hostile to the U.S. and urged the Bush Administration to consider a policy of regime change. Iran Focus

London, Nov. 17 – An American expert on Iran affairs warned the United States government that the world was facing a real threat of a nuclear-armed Iran hostile to the U.S. and urged the Bush Administration to consider a policy of regime change.

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, Ilan Berman, the vice-President for Policy at the American Foreign Policy Council, said that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was in control of Tehran’s nuclear activities strongly suggesting that its “atomic effort” was intended for “distinctly military applications”.

Berman said that until now the international response to Tehran’s nuclear challenge had been “woefully inadequate”.

“Since August 2002, when an Iranian opposition group disclosed information about two previously-unknown clandestine Iranian nuclear facilities, the world has woken up to the frightening possibility that the radical regime now in power in Tehran may soon possess a nuclear arsenal”, he said, adding, that more than three years later, much was still unknown about Tehran’s nuclear program.

“Compelling evidence suggests that Iran’s efforts are much more than simply an attempt to develop an additional source of energy.

“Iran’s atomic endeavour is massive in scope, encompassing as many as two-dozen sites scattered throughout the country, and focusing on both uranium enrichment and plutonium conversion. This represents a far greater effort than is necessary simply for the generation of supplemental electricity, the avowed goal of Iran’s nuclear program”.

Berman said that Iran had engaged in a pattern of “diplomatic obfuscation and deception” designed to prevent full oversight of its nuclear processes.

He suggested that Tehran’s nuclear efforts would have a negative impact on the region and could touch off a dangerous regional arms race. “Iran’s atomic endeavour holds the potential to dramatically alter the strategic balance in the Middle East”.

The IRGC’s control of Tehran’s nuclear program raises the possibility that Iran’s nuclear advances could translate into substantial terrorist gains, Berman added.

He called for greater cooperation between Washington and various European capitals in ensuring Tehran is not able to produce nuclear weapons.

“The danger of a nuclear Iran does not stem from the Iranian nuclear program itself. Rather, it comes from the nature of the regime that will ultimately wield those weapons. Iran’s intimate relationship with international terrorism, and its potential for catastrophic proliferation, suggests that an Islamic Republic armed with nuclear weapons would constitute a truly global threat”.

Berman summed up by suggesting that Washington attempt to do more than simply deter and contain Iran. “It must also focus its energies upon means by which it can spur a fundamental transformation of that regime”.

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