New York Times: US Intelligence Says Iran Not Developing Nukes

The mainstream media is beginning to report the actual assessments of Iran's nuclear program, instead of the usual fear-mongering

by John Glaser, February 25, 2012

The intelligence community in the United States believe there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, the New York Times finally reported on Saturday. 

The New York Times ran a front page article on Saturday reiterating the consensus view of the U.S. military and intelligence community regarding Iran’s nuclear program, splitting from usual mainstream media coverage which has hyped fear that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons.

The U.S. assessments that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so has been reported here at Antiwar.com and many other alternative news sources, but only now, after successive pronouncements by high level officials going against the grain of the hawkish rhetoric on an impending Iranian bomb has the Times given the issue substantial space.

“Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier,” the report said. “The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.”

The report points to testimony from James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all in agreement that there is no military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. This reportedly contradicts Israeli assessments and lately those of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which stirred up controversy over Iran’s program, claiming they are “unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities in Iran.”

But “intelligence officials and outside analysts,” the Times reports, believe “Iran could be seeking to enhance its influence in the region by creating what some analysts call ‘strategic ambiguity.’ Rather than building a bomb now, Iran may want to increase its power by sowing doubt among other nations about its nuclear ambitions.”

Iran is operating under constant threat from the U.S. and Israel. The U.S. has Iran militarily surrounded, has conducted covert attacks along with Israel, constantly threatens Iran with preemptive military strike, etc. In this environment, Iran has tried to abstain from developing nuclear weapons while having the know-how needed to get there; this essentially is an attempt to have a deterrent without actually having a deterrent.

As Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the IAEA, said in 2009 “I don’t believe the Iranians have made a decision to go for a nuclear weapon, but they are absolutely determined to have the technology because they believe it brings you power, prestige and an insurance policy.”

Despite this consensus view in the U.S., Washington has continued to isolate Iran, to heap crippling economic sanctions on Iran to support Israel – and refuse to criticize it – even while Tel Aviv has supported terrorist operations against Iranian nuclear scientists. Amid intense pressure from various Western foreign policy elites to wage war on Iran, perhaps to install an obedient regime, the intelligence has removed the one possible pretext: an Iranian nuclear weapon. And even the mainstream news media is now reporting it.

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