New proof of Iran nuclear arms program no surprise to Israel

Monday, May 14, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

The Associated Press at the weekend published a graphical rendering of what appears to be a pressure chamber used to test nuclear weapons. It reported that the drawing was provided by a high-ranking official from a country tracking Iran's nuclear program, and that the image allegedly depicts facilities located inside the Parchin military base near Tehran.

A former deputy director general at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the AP that the drawing closely resembles a photograph he recently saw of a pressure chamber at Parchin.

Iran refused to comment on the drawing, and continued to insist that it is not developing nuclear weapons. And while the new evidence strongly suggests otherwise, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the pressure chamber diagram is nothing new.

"This diagram is part of the information known to all leading intelligence agencies in the free world for some time," Barak told Israel Radio. The Israeli did indicate that he hopes the publication of the diagram will get more countries on board with serious efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program.

Late last week, Iranian opposition group Mujahadeen Khalq warned in a report published by Germany's Die Welt that while Iran teases the West with hopes of a diplomatic solution, the Islamic Republic is rushing full steam ahead to develop an atomic bomb.

Mujahadeen Khalq is the group that first exposed Iran's secretive nuclear program in 2002.

Meanwhile, Israel's Channel 10 News reported that the Obama Administration is growing increasingly concerned that Israel could launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities at any moment.

American officials reportedly told Channel 10 that, in Washington's eyes, last week's formation of a Likud-Kadima unity government in Jerusalem significantly boosted the chances of an Israeli strike in the next six months.

It has long been speculated that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were to order a strike on Iran, he would want to do so prior to the US presidential election in November in order to force President Barack Obama to back Israel's move.

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