The New York Times‘ William Broad and David Sanger have written a thoughtful piece questioning the Iran as 900 pound nuclear gorilla. It’s a piece long overdue.
While I agree with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns that virtually every serious nation — including Russia, China, France, Germany, and others — that has looked at the design and direction of Iran’s declared nuclear energy interests sees a path towards weaponization, Iran may be trying to create an impression of greater technological sophistication than it has in order to satisfy domestic political appetite and ambitions.
Americans were sold a false WMD story to help build political support for a White House pre-committed to an Iraq War. There were political dynamics at play designed in part to give Republicans a monopoly on the political benefits of fear-mongering.
We need to imagine a similar situation in Iran in which Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Ruler Khameini have excited the national passions of Iran’s citizens who largely support Iran’s sovereign right and need to move towards nuclear energy, but appear not to support weaponization.
Iran’s scientists and theocratic leaders may be lying to their public about their technological achievements much as Americans were lied to about Iraq’s WMDs to stoke national passions and expectations.
If this is the case, it would be useful for some sophisticated and precise commentary at some point from inspectors or other nuclear experts familiar with Iran’s nuclear program to define whether or not there is a gap between what Ahmadinejad and other top Iran officials are saying about Iran’s nuke program, and what they have really achieved — or said another way, what failures they want to cover-up from their citizens and the world.
Arms Control Wonk is a good source for serious discussion about reality and fantasy in the world of nuclear proliferation.
— Steve Clemons