In December 2007, all 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. were unanimous in declaring Iran had terminated its nuclear-weapon efforts in 2003.
That was the determination made in the national intelligence estimate (NIE) and undoubtedly was a key factor in convincing then President George Bush NOT to consider a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. That NIE report was also a factor in deterring Israel from carrying out its own strike.
Over the years, as the U.N. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammad EL Baradei was consistent in stating the agency had verified that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons.
Now comes a new IAEA Director, Yukiya Amano (who succeeded El Baradei two years ago) who claims in the latest U.N. report on Iran that "details intelligence and IAEA research that shows Tehran working on all aspects of research toward making a nuclear weapon."
Yesterday in the British House of Commons, Foreign Secretary William Hague warned the U.N. report on Iran's nuclear ambitions could spark a regional arms race. 
More ominously, according to sources at the top of the British Government believe Israel will attempt a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear sites "sooner rather than later", with logistical help from the U.S., before Christmas or early in the New Year. 
As for the U.S. there has been no official response to the IAEA report. But again according to sources, British officials believe President Obama will support the Israeli's so not to lose the American Jewish vote in next years presidential election. 
As to the allegations made against Iran in the IAEA report, President Ahmadinejad stated the U.N. agency is "discrediting itself by siding with U.S. claims that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons." 
So what is one to make of this new developing story?
From here it all looks rather ominous vis-Ã-vis Iran and its nuclear program.
Questions abound; why now does the IAEA report determine Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability after years stating the opposite? Where is the compelling evidence? Justifiable suspicions arise as to the veracity of the U.N. findings that seem to mirror the allegations made in early 2003 about Saddam Hussein's Iraq with evidence "confirming" the existence of weapons of mass destruction and developing a nuclear weapons capability, which all proved to be trumped up lies. Israel has been spoiling for a justification to attack Iran's nuclear facilities for years. Now apparently it has one and Obama appears enfeebled to prevent Israel from carrying it out with next year's presidential election looming on the horizon. In 2007 the Pentagon concluded an attack on Iran would be disastrous. So now with the Iraq war finally ending and the Afghan war winding down, has the Pentagon changed its tune with new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his counterpart, Ex General David Petraeus running the CIA, deciding an attack on Iran by Israel is now justified and not so "disastrous"?
As has been noted in this space previously, any attack on Iran will prove disastrous. First and foremost it will spur Iran to develop nuclear weapons as the ultimate defense to deter future attacks against it. Oil disruption in the Persian Gulf will most assuredly result in causing oil prices to rise dramatically thus worsening an already fragile world economy. Conventional retaliatory attacks by Iran on Israel will likely occur. Terrorism will escalate in the region and around the world. Iraq could reignite with attacks on remaining U.S. installations in that country.