Iranian Nuclear Program

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
June 24, 2008
CBS Evening News, 6:30 PM
KATIE COURIC: Meanwhile, more tough talk from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He vows to continue full speed ahead on his nuclear program in spite of new economic sanctions imposed today by the European Union; this as the U.S. and Israel discussed what could be the next step against Iran – a military attack.
From the Pentagon, here’s David Martin.
DAVID MARTIN: Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves tonight on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel. The trip has been scheduled for some time, but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex.
CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn't want to wait for a new administration.
MICHAEL OREN [CBS News Middle East Analyst]: The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize. Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policy of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran.
MARTIN: Israel's message is simple: if you don't, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel cannot do it alone.
OREN: Keep in mind that Israel does not have strategic bombers. The Israeli Air Force is not the American Air Force. Israel cannot eliminate Iran's nuclear program.
MARTIN: The U.S. with its stealth bombers and cruise missiles has a much greater capability. Vice President Cheney is said to favor a strike, but both Mullen and Defense Secretary Gates are opposed to an attack which could touch off a third war in the region.
U.S. intelligence estimates Iran won't be able to build a weapon until sometime early in the next decade. But Israel is operating on a much shorter timetable.
OREN: The Iranians, according to Israeli security sources, will have an operable nuclear weapon by 2009. That's not a very long time.
MARTIN: For now, the Bush administration is counting on new economic sanctions which took effect today to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program. But nobody's counting on it.
David Martin, CBS News, the Pentagon.