The Obama Administration on the Iranian Bomb

The Obama Administration apparently believes that Iran is developing nuclear weapons:

Reporting from Washington — Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.

Obama’s nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. “From all the information I’ve seen,” Panetta said, “I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.”

The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program.

Hat tip: Tigerhawk

Let the rain of scorn begin!

The position I’ve staked out on this subject over at my place is that the preponderance of the evidence supports the belief that the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons and, if the Iranians aren’t developing nuclear weapons, the Iranian government certainly wants us (and the Iranian people) to believe that they are.

However, I don’t believe that it would be in the U. S. interests to engage in military action against Iran and, indeed, it would be more likely to harm our interests than it would to advance them. We need to negotiate with the Iranians there’s plenty of basis for negotiation. We have both areas of agreement and disagreement with the Iranian government.

See also my earlier post this morning on North Korean missile development.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. markm says:

    However, I don’t believe that it would be in the U. S. interests to engage in military action against Iran

    I assume Israel will do the dirty work, as they have repeated, should Iran’s program progress much further.

  2. Cernig says:

    Miller at the LAT should have held off until he’d heard from Admiral Blair instead of just listening to his sources from the last administration. Here’s Blair on prevalent opionion at the WH, shorn of “perpetual campaign” rhetoric.

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — US intelligence does not know whether Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons, but at a minimum Tehran is keeping that option open, the new US intelligence director said.

    Retired admiral Dennis Blair said US intelligence assesses that Iran has not restarted nuclear weapons design and weaponization work that it halted in late 2003.

    “Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them,” he said in an annual threat assessment to Congress.

    That seems like a reasonable assessment to me. The evidence to date still bolsters the position that Iran currently has no active weapons program or plans to begin one – but it has the knowledge and thus the option to do so.

    The only scorn I have is for “perpetual campaigning” politics that means Obama and his officials would be crucified if they didn’t talk tough and walk John Wayne tall on Iran.

    Regards, C