Speaking today on CNN’s “State of the Union,” former CIA Director Michael Hayden insisted that during his term in office the prospect of America attacking Iran was “way down the list,” but that now it seems that such an attack “seems inexorable.”
Hayden noted that no matter what the US does diplomatically, Iran has continued work on its civilian nuclear program. He predicted that Iran would continue to keep its work civilian, while noting that this could put Iran at the point where it would be “just below having an actual weapon.”
Which is of course true, and nations with civilian nuclear programs like Canada and Japan could likewise be accused of being “just below” having a nuclear weapon. Yet Hayden maintains that Iran being at this point would be just as destabilizing as if they had an actual weapons program and an actual nuclear arsenal.
The US has been threatening to attack Iran over its civilian nuclear program for many years now, as has Israel. The US recently pressed a series of sanctions through the UN Security Council to punish Iran for not abandoning the program, and both the US and EU have passed even further unilateral sanctions.
All of these sanctions have been couched as trying to stop Iran from having “acquiring nuclear weapons.” Yet Hayden’s comments underscore the reality, that officials object to Iran having even a civilian energy program, one which they have every right to as a member in good standing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.