According to Israeli intelligence, more intelligent usually than American intelligence, the clock is ticking on efforts to persuade or force Iran to give up its effort to produce nuclear weapons. Time is running out.
According to Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, Iran is “very close” to crossing the technological threshold that will allow it the capability of enriching uranium at an industrial level. Having mastered the technology, Kuperwasser predicts Iran will be able to manufacture a nuclear device within two or three years.
Sanctions alone, Kuperwasser says in a report entitled "Halting Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program: Iranian Vulnerabilities and Western Policy Options," will not be sufficient to persuade Iran to abandon its program.
The sticking point, as always, is Russia. Because Russia is unallied with the United States, sanctions alone would be ineffective, said Kupperwasser.
"For significant sanctions to be effective the world needs to at the same time threaten the use of military force. Iran needs to be made to understand that if the sanctions won't work, the world is prepared to use military force to stop the nuclear program."
Although Iran is preparing for a military response by concealing and strengthening nuclear components -- The Washington Post has published photos of Iran's enrichment facility at Natanz which showed the digging of a tunnel that analysts said could be used to hide and protect key nuclear components – the Iranians, Kupperwasser believes, do not think either the United States or Israel were politically strong enough to launch such a complicated military operation.
In a story printed in the Jerusalem Post, Kuperwasser said “that a real threat of military action - backed up by credible threats by world leaders as well as the deployment of a large military force to the region - could have the right effect in deterring Iranian leaders from continuing with their nuclear program.
“A credible military threat combined with economic leverage had a chance at preventing the need for a future clash with a nuclear Iran and perhaps could also make it unnecessary to deal today with an Iran that is close to nuclearization.”
It is not known whether any of the US Congressional committees probing President Bush’s failed war in Iraq intends to gather and make public information from Kuperwasser and other intelligence operatives that know more about Iranian nuclear development than, say, the editorial board of the New York Times.