The Islamic government considers itself an atomic power, and, according to Israeli experts, Iran’s nuclear weapons program may have reached a point of no return, where it no longer requires foreign assistance, Jane’s Defense’s Beirut-based expert Ed Blanche tells Radio Farda. Economic sanctions may only slow the process, but would not be able to prevent Iran from reaching its goal or change the country’s perception of itself, he says. August 30, 2004 - “It is the conclusion of the Israeli experts that Iran may have reached a point where it will no longer require foreign assistance for developing nuclear weapons,” Jane’s Defense’s Beirut-based expert Ed Blanche tells Radio Farda’s London correspondent Shahran Tabari. “If, as the experts are saying, Iran can complete its military atomic program with what it has purchased from Pakistan, North Korea and Russia, then banning the export of dual use equipment to Iran would not have any effect, and this could create a gap for the West, which could be dangerous,” he adds. At the point of no return for Iran’s nuclear program, there is little the US and the European countries can do to contain it, Blanche says. “I am not suggesting anything should be done beyond the fact that diplomatic pressure should continue to be exerted, further sanctions against Iran, beyond the existing sanctions, may have some effect, but I doubt that sanctions can force Iran to end its nuclear program.” “The Islamic Republic already considers itself an atomic power, and, considering its vast territory and large population and its influence in the region, the government believes it has the right to have access to nuclear weapons technology. Foreign pressure can only slow down the process, but cannot change the Iranians’ perception of themselves,” he adds. He says the Europeans’ policy of dialogue with the Islamic Republic “need to involve some new elements to have any hope of moving forward.” He suggests conciliatory moves by the US, such as unfreezing Iranian assets, may help improve dialogue’s chance of success.