In his latest testimony to the Senate, CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus reiterated, predictably enough, that Afghanistan is in for a “tough year,” but the more interesting portion of his testimony focused on Iran.
Sen. Lindsey Graham pumped the general for more speculation about Iran, asking how long until Iran’s mythical nuclear weapon would be finished. Gen. Petraeus was non-committal, saying only that it was “not this calender year, I don’t think.”
At the same time, Gen. Petraeus claimed this was because Iran’s efforts had been “delayed a bit.” He called for more international pressure against Iran, and declined to answer questions about a possible attack plan against the nation.
The rhetoric was, as always, telling. The questions centered around Iran’s supposed production of a nuclear weapon even though the nation is only a month into a very modest effort to enrich uranium to the 20 percent needed for medical purposes.
The production of a weapon would require Iran to enrich virtually all of its uranium to 90 percent, something Iran isn’t even accused of attempting to do in small quantities. Administration officials expressed doubts last month as to whether Iran was even capable of producing the 20 percent enriched uranium, let alone the 90 percent.
But the Senate discussion did not focus on any of the inconvenient realities of Iran’s civilian nuclear program, with its program still focused chiefly on 3.5 percent enriched uranium production for energy generation. The weapons program, which the most recent National Intelligence Estimate says simply does not exist, is taken as a matter of course, and the only debate is about how much to escalate against Iran to punish them for what, by all accounts, they couldn’t even be doing if they tried.
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