Willful Delusion Re: Iran

Anthony Cordesman of the The Center for International and Strategic Studies has published an extremely thorough report about Iran's nuclear program that should quell the doubts of those who believe that Iran's nuclear pursuits are benign or even TBD. The report, based on close readings of past IAEA reports as well as other declassified documents, paints a very sober, Monday-ruining kind of picture about the advanced scope of the Iranian program, the inadequacy of the current P5+1 agenda, and the limited efficacy of a potential strike on the program.

This report, taken with last week's news of the suspicious scrubbing of an Iranian nuclear site (along with the release yesterday of a drawing of an even more suspicious explosives containment chamber), have raised considerable alarm. In Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer writes about the report in an article that, in the spirit of Israeli subtlety, is titled "The most important report on nuclear Iran that you are likely to read." A bit of the summary here:

Anyone who believes that Iran is not yet actively pursuing a nuclear-weapons program and merely developing the capabilities is committing an act of willful delusion. The intelligence supplied to the IAEA and verified by different "member countries," is clear on that Iran has been working on a wide range of projects for over a decade, all of which are specifically aimed at acquiring the capabilities necessary not only to enrich uranium to weapons-grade, but to assemble a nuclear advice that can be launched by long-range missile. Talk of a fatwa against nuclear weapons is just that: talk.

Despite sanctions and international monitoring, Iran has received highly specialized instruments and equipment, benefited from the knowledge of foreign nuclear weapons designers and made impressive advance in its own scientific centers, so as to be able to carry out most of the necessary testing for a nuclear device, without actually creating a nuclear detonation. There has also been preparation for an actual nuclear test.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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