According to a report prepared for the French National Assembly, the Iranian regime is a "short distance" from securing what it needs to make a nuclear weapon. The report, which was released in December, was based on testimony from academics, defense experts, intelligence chiefs and officials from Iran. The report asserts that Iran will be capable of building a nuclear warhead by 2011 at the latest.
The threat of a nuclear-weapons armed Iran has alarmed the international community and prompted the United Nations Security Council to adopt 5 resolutions calling on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. At a final scheduled press conference before the start of a new U.S. administration on January 20th, President George Bush said Iran's nuclear program is "still dangerous."
Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with the Associated Press, said Iran's nuclear program, in combination with the regime's support for terrorism, is "scary." "They have continued to aggressively pursue nuclear weapons, in terms of their efforts to enrich uranium to produce fissile materials so they can build a bomb. One of the things I worry about most," said Mr. Cheney, "is that linkage between a government that supports terror and terrorists on the one hand, and on the other hand is developing a number of deadlier weapons."
Vice President Cheney called the Iranian regime "one of the proudest sponsors of terror in the world," and noted that it is the "prime" supporter of both Hezbollah, which masterminded the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, and Hamas, which is, he said, "Currently creating great difficulties ... with respect to the Israelis and the peace process."
Regarding pressure by the international community to induce Iran to change its destructive policies, Mr. Cheney said that while much has been done, "clearly more is required."