Good piece from Jonathan Landay:
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., say that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
The U.S. intelligence community, however, thinks that Iran halted an effort to build a nuclear warhead in mid-2003, and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating the program, has found no evidence to date of an active Iranian nuclear-weapons project.
Indeed. The IAEA has various complaints about Iranian nuclear activities, and it makes sense for the United States to vigorously pursue those complaints. It's also true that given Iranian history on this issue and the nature of the Iranian regime, it's smart strategy for the United States to seek nuclear concessions from Iran that go beyond what's strictly required by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the Intelligence Community has assessed that current levels of scrutiny and pressure caused the Iranians to cease their weapons program back in 2003.
It's worth considering how the refusal of American politicians to acknowledge this must look in Teheran. In the hawk faction of the U.S. politics you have radical clerics musing about the apocalypse playing a key role in the process to determine who the GOP standard-bearer will be. And even in the more dovish faction, the lead contenders won't acknowledge our own intelligence findings about the Iranian nuclear program. Someone, someone in Iran is penning a furious blog post or article or memo about how you just can't appease the Americans, how we're irrational and our political system is dysfunctional, about how we were determined to invade Iraq irrespective of the facts and we're not invading Iran right now just because it's not logistically feasible and that restarting a crash weapons program before it does become feasible is Iran's only hope.
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