Launching a strike on Iranian nuclear installations would force its efforts deeper into secrecy and strengthen the republic's clout, an analyst said.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the board of governors Thursday in Vienna information he has gathered suggests Iran is working on activities related to a nuclear weapon.
"The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," Amano said in his statement.
Before his testimony, preliminary reporting from the IAEA suggested Iran had carried out theoretical work on a weapon despite Iran's insistence that its intentions were peaceful. Iran early this year started a nuclear reactor with the help of Moscow.
Tehran warned it would be a mistake for its Western adversaries to attack its nuclear installations after allegations surfaced Israel was considering a strike similar to ones it carried out against Syria and Iraq.
James Dobbin, director of the international security and defense policy center at the RAND Corp., argues in an editorial published by U.S. News and World Report a military strike on Iran would actually embolden the Islamic republic.
He claims any attack would likely push the Iranian nuclear program further underground and fracture the coalition opposing Iran's nuclear ambitions.
He claims Iran's regional influence is strengthened by its ability to stand up to Western powers.
"Here it is important to recognize that it is not Iranian aggression that its neighbors principally fear, but Iranian subversion," he argues.