It’s been coming from all sides as if it’s a settled fact, so it’s interesting that Leon Panetta says Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons:
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta let slip on Sunday the big open secret that Washington war hawks don’t want widely known: Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Panetta admitted that despite all the rhetoric, Iran is not pursuing the ability to split atoms with weapons, saying it is instead pursuing “a nuclear capability.”
That “capability” falls in line with what Iran has said for years: that it is developing nuclear energy facilities, not nuclear weapons.
“I think the pressure of the sanctions, the diplomatic pressures from everywhere, Europe, the United States, elsewhere, it’s working to put pressure on them,” Panetta explained on Sunday. “To make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”
Republicans have been beating the drums of war in recent weeks as tensions in the Iranian gulf have soared. Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transport hub crucial to global industry, if U.S. warships return to monitor their activities.
Iran said it was planning to hold military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in the coming weeks, and prior wargames saw the Iranians test missiles that are designed to sink warships.
An Iranian university professor working at a key nuclear facility has been killed in a bomb explosion, the latest in a series of assassinations and attempted killings linked by the country’s authorities to a secret war by Israel and the US to stop the development of what Tehran insists would be a peaceful nuclear capability.
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, a chemistry expert and a director of the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran, died after two assailants on a motorcycle attached magnetic bombs to his car, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Two other Iranian nationals were reported injured in the blast, which comes at a time of rising international tension.