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A critical mess over Iran

Obama and McCain say Iran must not get the bomb. They should read a new UN report.

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Both John McCain and Barack Obama say Iran must not be allowed to make an atomic bomb. Whomever wins in November may need to act on this pledge early in his presidency. A new UN report cites "serious" concerns about "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear programs.

The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is extraordinarily tough. The IAEA isn't known to exaggerate and even openly opposes the Bush administration's tough and sometimes threatening talk against Iran. Up to now, the United Nations agency has largely given Iran the benefit of the doubt about its claim that this petroleum-rich country simply seeks a new energy source.

But evidence of Iran's intent is reaching critical mass, compounded by its secrecy in dealing with the IAEA, not to mention direct threats against Israel and pretensions to dominate the Middle East in the name of a flagging Shiite revolution.

For the US presidential campaign, the issue of a nuclearized Iran should be as hot as withdrawal from Iraq.

The Islamic nation's nuclear intent has become clearer as it adds more powerful centrifuges to enrich uranium – in defiance of three resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Many experts say it could make enough fissile material for a bomb by late 2009.

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