Roger Cohen vs. The New York Times

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Roger Cohen today, giving the benefit of the doubt to the mullahs, again:

(Meir) Dagan's concerns have surfaced as Seymour Hersh concludes in a New Yorker article this month that, as he put it in one interview, "There's just no serious evidence inside that Iran is actually doing anything to make a nuclear weapon."

His reporting reveals that the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (N.I.E.) of 2007 -- which concluded "with high confidence" that Iran had halted a nuclear-weapons program in 2003 -- still pertains in the classified N.I.E. of 2011. As a retired senior intelligence official put it to Hersh, there's nothing "substantially new" that "leads to a bomb."

In other words, Iran, epicenter of inefficiency, unable to produce a kilowatt of electricity through its Bushehr nuclear reactor despite decades of effort, is still doing its old brinkmanship number.

Here is The New York Times editorial board, yesterday, not giving the benefit of the doubt to the mullahs:

Iran continues to stonewall about its illicit nuclear activities. The International Atomic Energy Agency isn't falling for it. Nobody should.

The agency's latest report is chilling. While Tehran claims that its program has solely peaceful ends, it lists seven activities with potential "military dimensions." That includes "activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile"; new evidence that Iran has worked on a highly sophisticated nuclear triggering technology; and research on missile warhead designs -- namely "studies involving the removal of the conventional high explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab 3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload."

The Times suggests that no one should fall for Iranian stonewalling. This message should be transmitted to a certain Times columnist, who should at least acknowledge the fact that the Obama Administration, that hot center of neoconservative thought, believes Iran is actively engaged in developing a nuclear weapons program. Cohen would also do his readers a service by acknowledging the existence of the IAEA report. Here is a link to the Times story, by David Sanger and William Broad, about that report, in case he missed it. There was also this story in the Times, also by Sanger and Broad, just the other day:

Iran declared Wednesday that it planned this year to triple production of its most concentrated form of nuclear fuel, expanding its manufacturing efforts to a mountainous, once secret nuclear site buried deep underground. Atomic experts worry that the production of more concentrated fuel could bring Iran closer to the ability to rapidly make weapons-grade uranium for a bomb.

In case you were wondering, Cohen also ignores this bit of news in his column today.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/roger-cohen-vs-the-new-york-times/240414/