The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), issued in early December 2007, reports that Iran halted its secret nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 and has apparently shown no inclination to restart it.
While acknowledging its possible significance, Ephraim Kam and Ephraim Asculai of the INSS (formerly Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies) note that the NIE assessment “does not negate the possibility that Iran will continue to seek nuclear weapons.”
On the contrary, Kam and Asculai continue, the assessment clearly states that Iran’s radical Islamist regime:
– secretly hid a dangerous nuclear weapons program under the eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and could do so again;
– is accelerating its civilian uranium enrichment program (which, under certain conditions, could also lead to the production of weapons-grade fissile materials); and
– retains the option to develop nuclear weapons, along with the technological infrastructure to do so.
As Kam and Asculai conclude: “…if the new intelligence assessment turns out to be correct – and only time will tell – this is good news even though it does not make the Iranian nuclear threat entirely a thing of the past. The problem is that if the assessment is wrong, it will be harder than ever to confront the Iranian threat.”
Nuclear weapons, however, are only one of the ways in which the Iranian regime threatens global stability. It also inhibits stability in Iraq by supporting militant Shi’ite forces. It causes social unrest throughout the Persian Gulf by spreading revolutionary Islam among Shi’ite minority groups. It promotes violent sectarianism in Lebanon and threatens regional stability by supplying Hezbollah and Syria with weapons. It undermines the prospects of Arab-Israeli reconciliation by sponsoring and inspiring Hamas and other Palestinian groups dedicated to Israel’s destruction and by calling the Holocaust a “myth” and calling for Israel’s eradication. And it threatens global stability by spreading radical Shi’ite Islam throughout Africa and Asia and by threatening to “unleash” Iranian-sponsored terror groups in North America and Western Europe.
Of particular concern to Canada, as a country dedicated to international human rights and the rule of law, is the Iranian regime’s abuse of minority religious groups like the Baha’i, and of political opponents. Citing the Iranian regime’s consistent abdication of its responsibility to deal honestly with the murder of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran in 2003, Canada has been among the sharpest critics of Iran’s human rights record.