Iran tests missile as Obama tests diplomacy
Ahmadinejad said today that the Islamic Republic has a missile capable of reaching Israel. A new report says Iran could develop a simple nuclear device as early as 2010.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Wednesday that Iran had successfully launched a surface-to-air missile with a range of 1,240 miles – well within striking capacity of Israel and parts of Europe.
Within five years, Iran could develop a nuclear warhead that could be launched by such a missile, according to a new report issued Tuesday by the EastWest Institute. But in as little as a year, the Islamic republic could possess a simple nuclear device.
These developments come in the wake of President Obama's statement on Monday that Iran has until the end of the year to show it's serious about nuclear negotiations. If it does, he says that he remains sanguine that a diplomatic approach can yield results.
The race is on between Obama's diplomacy and Iran's nuclear scientists.
So now begins Mr. Obama's diplomatic sprint. His declaration Monday that 'we're not going to have talks forever' was a warning to the Iranians that his fundamentally different approach — serious American engagement with Tehran for the first time in three decades — must bear fruit before Iran clears the last technological hurdles to building a weapon.
Since assuming power in January, the Obama administration has taken a markedly different approach to Iran than the Bush administration, as Bloomberg reports.
The U.S. has abandoned calls for "regime change" in Iran under President Barack Obama and expects a response to its diplomatic outreach, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said.
"That is not the current policy of this new administration, and it is important for Iran to understand that," Kerry said during a panel hearing in Washington today. "Just as we abandon calls for regime change in Tehran and recognize the legitimate Iranian role in the region, Iran's leaders need to moderate their behavior.
But while diplomacy has helped thaw relations – Ahmadinejad has been cautious but receptive to Obama's overtures – it hasn't stopped Iran from pursuing nuclear technology, as the EastWest Institute's new report underscores.