To no one's surprise, international talks had no effect on Iran's nuclear productions. In fact, the effort only confirmed that Iran has even more uranium that previously though, and could produce five atomic bombs with its supply.
During talks in Baghdad this week, six world powers failed to convince Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program. They will meet again in Moscow next month to try to defuse a decade-old standoff that has raised fears of a new war in the Middle East that could disrupt oil supplies.
Friday's report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a Vienna-based U.N. body, showed Iran was pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment work in defiance of U.N. resolutions calling on it to suspend the activity.
It said Iran had produced almost 6.2 tons of uranium enriched to a level of 3.5 percent since it began the work in 2007 - some of which has subsequently been further processed into higher-grade material.
This is nearly 750 kg more than in the previous IAEA report issued in February, and ISIS said Iran's monthly production had risen by roughly a third.
"This total amount of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium hexafluoride, if further enriched to weapon grade, is enough to make over five nuclear weapons," ISIS said in its analysis.
As diplomatic efforts have failed, however, Leon Panetta has been increasingly clear about the U.S.' intent to use military force to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday indirectly confirmed recent remarks by the Ambassador to Israel that the U.S. is “ready from a military perspective’’ to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon if international pressure fails.
“We have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves,’’ Panetta said on ABC’s This Week. Earlier, Panetta said, “The fundamental premise is that neither the United States or the international community is going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.’’
Panetta's hint comes on the heels of rumblings from other officials; clearly, the U.S. is fearful of Iran's capabilities, and seems to be warming up to the idea of a strike. The question now seems to be one of when: time seems to be running short, as Iran gets closer and closer to building a nuclear weapon -- and presumeably, using it against Israel.