It is probably the case that Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program until 2003. But that program was secret and it’s pretty obvious that Iran did not anticipate getting caught. Tehran has _not_ demonstrated a willingness to pursue an overt nuclear weapons program.
This matters because it makes an Iranian breakout scenario pretty unlikely. Furthermore, the more likely it is that Iran will be caught developing a nuclear weapon (through measures such as IAEA safeguards, intelligence methods, additional monitoring methods, etc.), the less likely it is that Tehran will try.
Put another way, some in Iran probably want a nuclear weapon, or at least a weapons option, but there is scant evidence that they want one at all costs. Therefore, Iranian officials’ preferences for a nuclear weapon are not immutable. Capabilities influence intentions.
As an aside, a weapons option may be troubling, but the number of people you can kill with an option is zero.
*Update:* Thanks a lot to Steve Clemons for the “link.”:http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/01/ventilating_tho/
That’s been my thinking for a while as well. Also consider that a weapons program makes sense with Saddam Hussein next door – with him gone (also in 2003), the strategic justification is greatly reduced.
Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. actually it doesnt need to do that. in this world, Nuclear weapon has no use. Iranian Young People are its nuclear weapons, as Iranian president claimed several times, and this is true. the article is dealing with this issue in western eyes. they have nuclear weapons but they try to stop others from having a peacful nuclear program, wheather Iran has never been an aggressive force to any countries.
Any country with an enrichment program can be said to have a “nuclear weapon option” (Brazil, Argentina, etc.) so this is a nonsense charge. There simply is no evidence to support the contention that the Iranians seek nuclear weapons, and quite the reverse, there is evidence that they do NOT even seek such an option either: they have offered to place limits beyond the NPT and AP requirement that would make such an option even more difficult if not impossible (ie: operating their nuclear program as joint ventures with foreign governments) Time to put away the innuendo and speculation and stick to facts.