A report from United Nations energy officials claims that Iran has already mastered the steps necessary to build nuclear weapons, putting the nation on the brink of joining the world's nuclear powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency is set to issue the report later this week, but The Washington Post unveiled its key details on Sunday.
According to U.N. officials, Iran received technological assistance from outside experts to overcome the most difficult hurdles, such as building the highly precise detonators and triggers needed to generate a nuclear explosion. Among those who provided help was a weapons scientist from the former Soviet Union who shared vital research on explosives and warhead design.
The IAEA also discovered blueprints for something called a "nuclear inititator" that was designed by A.Q. Khan, the "father" of Pakistan's nuclear program. Other material and designs used by Iran may have come from North Korea (who also received assistance from Khan on their nuclear program.)
There was talk last week that Israel was more seriously considering a pre-emptive strike to avoid a nuclear Iran, raising tensions in the region ahead of the U.N. report. Unfortunately, any attempt to reign in the Iranian regime, either through force or threats, only strengthens their determination to gain nuclear weapons. According to the Post, Iran briefly halted their nuclear efforts in 2003, but quickly resumed the efforts, after no doubt recognizing that nothing the United States and other powers can take away in sanctions is worth more than the benefits of having a nuclear bomb.