The spy agencies of the US, Europe and Israel are divided over whether Iran is actively developing nuclear warheads, reports the New York Times
The United States believes Iran has halted development, an assessment
other spy agencies apparently do not share. How could this intelligence split, and the possibility of Iranian nukes, affect our engagement with Iran?
- American Intelligence Is 'Delusional' Steve Schippert of Threats Watch speculated on why American intelligence would be alone. "Does it not strike as at least odd that the United States is the
only one who holds this view? That Germany, Israel and France - France - think this is crazy?" he asked. "And the outcome hinges on politicized American NIE fiction
from 2007 and a foolish measure of faith and trust that the Iranian
regime can be reasoned with or strong-armed out of their nuclear
weapons program through infamous strongly worded statements from Turtle
Bay or sanctions that have never worked and will always be neutered by
Russia or China or both. It's delusional. Clarity, logic and history stare us in the face. We
can't call it something else and make it so, no matter what approach
one would take from that point forward."
- No Telling What Else Iran is Hiding Nima Gerami and James M. Acton suggested
that the secret uranium enrichment facility in Qom "might not be the
end of the story" on Iran's nuclear ambitions. They would need refined
uranium first, implying other secret facilities. "Iran could therefore
also set up a clandestine conversion facility, or have succeeded in
the material illicitly." The authors ask, "What else is Iran hiding?"
Fortunately, this could be enough to finally bridge the gaps on the UN
Security Council that have made enforcing Iranian non-proliferation so
difficult. "Iran feels able to defy the IAEA and the U.N. Security
because the veto-wielding members of the Security Council do not have a
position. The revelation of the Qom facility -- hidden from the
community and not declared to the IAEA as required -- demonstrates
contrary to its protestations, Iran is not complying with its
obligations and that its nuclear program does have a military
could give Britain, France, and the United States exactly the lever
to build a consensus that the Security Council's demands can go
- Iran Has a 'No First Strike' Policy Juan Cole pointed
out a statement made on Monday by General Hoseyn Salami, commander of
the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force, who appeared to be saying
that Iran would resort to military force only if an aggressor did so
first. "Many Western media reports implied that the missile tests were
along with threats to wipe out Israel," Cole wrote. "But note that the
officer overseeing them explicitly restated Iran's 'no first strike'
pledge. To my knowledge, no current high official in the Iranian
executive has threatened war against Israel, which in any case would be
foolhardy given Israel's nuclear arsenal (see below). Iranian officials
do say they hope the 'Zionist regime' will collapse as the Soviet Union
- The Failure of the UN Gideon Rachman wrote in the Financial Times
that Iran's action prove the inability of the United Nations and world
community to act when it matters. "For those western leaders who are
hoping that the UN will tackle the
frightening challenges identified by Mr Obama, it is all very
depressing," he wrote. "President George W. Bush had his own answer to
the question of global
governance – the G1. Under Mr Bush, the US was quite prepared to act
alone, when necessary." But will Obama take a unilateral path? "The
only unilateral American policy that the US could adopt towards
Iran would be military intervention – and any such response would run
against the grain of everything that Mr Obama stands for. But perhaps
it may still come to that, nonetheless."
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