The statements by Military Intelligence head, Major General Amos Yadlin, that Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" in its nuclear program, mean only one thing: Everything is now up to Tehran.
If it wants to, Iran can proceed and produce its first nuclear weapon, but if it doesn't want to, it will not do so. This conclusion means that Israel, through Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who declared it a national priority to foil Iran's nuclear program, has failed in its mission.
The "technological threshold" is a Military Intelligence term for an expression they thought was too deterministic: the point of no return.
It means that Iran has the know-how, the resources and the equipment to make a nuclear weapon. But the MI chief's assessment is not necessarily based on sensitive, classified information. It was clearly written in the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report. Iran has 4000 active centrifuges. These produce the low-grade enrichment of more than a ton of uranium.
If Iran wants to, it has the resources and the equipment to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level. Twenty-five kilograms of highly-enriched uranium is sufficient for a bomb.
The new U.S. administration has improved Tehran's position. The U.S. changed its approach after concluding that prior threats and sanctions had failed to have an effect. President Barack Obama intends to talk with the ayatollahs and to offer them a broad deal: a resolution in Iraq, a joint battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan, recognition of Iran's regional position and economic incentives.
In return, Washington hopes Iran will agree to cease uranium enrichment. The U.S. also hopes to rally Russian support for this policy, in return for not deploying an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
However the chances that these international efforts will convince Iran to step down from uranium enrichment are slim. Iran's aim, as the MI chief said Sunday, is to gain time to improve its technological capabilities.
The only chance of Iran not developing nuclear weapons is if Tehran decides on its own to stick to its current achievements.
One might call this a new version of the policy of ambiguity: You know we can do it, and if we want to, we will put together a bomb.
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