US intelligence conforms to Iranian denials of weapons development, but hawks in the US and Israel want war anyway
Iran will never seek nuclear weapons, declared Iran’s Supreme Leader in Tehran on Wednesday in a meeting with the director and officials of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons,” said Ayatollah Khamenei amid calls from some hawks in Israel and the U.S. to attack Iran for its nuclear enrichment, which they allege is for nuclear weapons.
“There is no doubt,” Khamenei said, “that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”
Indeed, there is broad consensus within the military and intelligence community in the U.S. that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so. Despite this, rabid calls for war have continued from hawkish politicians and especially from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Various U.S. officials, from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have cautioned against any preemptive strike on Iran. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said an attack would be “not prudent.”
Israeli leaders, meanwhile, have berated these statements, complaining U.S. officials speaking publicly about their reluctance to start a war with Iran ”served Iran’s interests.” The pro-war hawks continue to push the narrative that Iran’s leaders are religious fanatics who would risk suicide by actually launching one of their nonexistent nuclear weapons on Israel.
But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress that “we continue to judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach.” Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency General Ron Burgess told Congress that “the agency assesses Iran is unlikely to initiate or provoke a conflict.” So far, this hasn’t been enough for those intent on another unprovoked war in the Middle East.
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