Iran and nuclear weapons
Recently Powell talked about the US concern about Iran and their missiles.
The fact that Iran desires nuclear weapons is a virtual given. Many Arab countries resent having an Israeli nuclear power with no one else in the region to balance them. Iran and Iraq, having fought a long war against each other in which Iraq's missiles and chemical weapons were considered to be the deciding factor, have both considered a WMD program essential to their country's security. Iran, being a fundamentalist theocratic government, has also had a fairly close relationship with fundamentalist terrorist groups (at least, closer than Hussein had).
From single source intelligence provided by Iranian exiles, it looks like Iran is already working on methods to mate nuclear warheads to missiles. The original source is apparently provided by an Iranian opposition group currently listed as a terrorist organization, but one that hasn't been actively involved in terrorist activities for some time.
More traditional intel estimates Iran shouldn't be able to develop nuclear weapons until the end of the decade, at the earliest.
If the US administration discovers that Iran could have a viable nuclear missile by the end of 2005, instead of the end of the decade....
Would you trust their assessment? Is the issue of 'end of the decade' or 'end of 2005' trivial anyway, since most intel suggests that we'll have to confront the possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons within the 5-10 years, maximum, so why wait?
Is the idea of Iran, one of the members of the 'Axis of Evil', possessing nuclear weapons 'intolerable' as some leaders have said? Or will an Arab nuclear power in the area bring greater stability by balancing out Israel's nuclear weapons?
Do you think the US is currently able to do anything about Iranian nuclear weapons, if they have them?
Should the US resort to military action to eliminate Iran's nuclear program if diplomatic negotiations don't show rapid concrete progess?
Is Iran a big enough threat to warrant abandoning our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq in order to face off militarily against Iran?