Chances of War With Iran Rise to 40%, Atlantic Panel Says

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Via Dominic Tierney, the latest Atlantic Iran War Dial panel prediction:

The probability of conflict with Iran is now at 40 percent, according to The Atlantic's Iran War Dial. We've assembled a high profile team of experts from the policy world, academia, and journalism to periodically predict the chances that Israel or the United States will strike Iran in the next year. For more on the Iran War Dial and the panelists, visit our FAQ page.

Peace remains more likely than war. But the chances of conflict have ticked upward for the second month in a row, from 36 percent in June, to 38 percent in July, and now 40 percent in August.
I would note that The Atlantic panel (I am one of its 22 members) was polled before concrete news about the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report was released. The report is filled with much bad news for people who a) don't want Iran to get the bomb; b) have convinced themselves that Iran's nuclear program has only peaceful intentions; and c) don't want Israel to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities this year. Here's David Sanger on the meaning of the latest report, which shows that the Fordow underground facility is getting crammed full of centrifuges:
The report... the last to be issued before the American presidential election, lays out in detail how Iran has used the summer to double the number of centrifuges installed deep under a mountain near the holy city of Qum, while cleansing another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be "relevant" to the production of a nuclear weapon. Based on satellite photographs, the I.A.E.A. said the cleanup has been so extensive that it would "significantly hamper" the ability of inspectors to understand what kind of work took place there.

The report confirmed that a recent boast by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that Iran had added nearly 1,000 centrifuges to the underground site was accurate. But it left open the question of what, exactly, Mr. Khamenei and other Iranian leaders intended to do with those machines, and whether, by racing ahead with construction, they were seeking negotiating advantage or trying to gain the capability to build a bomb before sanctions, sabotage or military action could stop them.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/chances-of-war-with-iran-rise-to-40-atlantic-panel-says/261806/