Bush Says Iran Still a Danger…Sound Familiar?

New York Times: Bush Says Iran Still a Danger Despite Weapons Report

This headline is way too familiar. Try changing one letter and you’re back 4 years ago debating the exact same issue. Intelligence agencies released the following long-awaited report on the nuclear capacities of Iran, finding that they stopped weapons development in 2003.

National Intelligence Estimate: Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities

A few highlights from the report:We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely.

  • We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.
  • We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.
  • We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

but…

  • We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015

Iran may eventually be a danger – and we’re not exactly taking action in the world to convince people we’re worth being friends with – but this is not an imminent threat to US security, and it worries me that Bush is slipping into the same rhetoric he displayed with respect to Iraq. This does not justify Bush saying things such as

Bush: But this — we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon… (Full transcript)

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