The hype and faux hysteria are being generated once more over the claim that Iran will soon have nuclear weapons. It is identical to the wild-eyed fear mongering that preceded the invasion of Iraq and its mythical weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Once again, Vice President Dick Cheney is heading the propaganda push just as he did in 2002 in the run-up to Iraq. On the morning of Inauguration Day, 2005, he appeared on MSNBCs Imus in the Morning program and stated that Iran has a fairly robust new nuclear program.
Cheney added that Iran sponsors terrorism and said Irans objective is the destruction of Israel.
Cheneys protege and new U.N. ambassador John Bolton has been quoted as saying Iranian deception cannot be allowed to continue. It will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons.
So we have both Cheney and Bolton claiming that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb and the means to deliver it and that its success is imminent. That makes a good scary story. It might also justify military action against Iran.
The problem is that several federal officials who have access to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) recently told The Washington Post that intelligence reports show Iran is a good 10 years away from any nuclear capability.
The NIE states that while there is evidence Iran is doing some secret work on nuclear power, no evidence exists linking that work directly to a nuclear weapons program. Further, U.N. weapons inspectors have found no proof that Iran is operating a nuclear weapons program or that it has a nuclear warhead design.
The NIE said the earliest Iran could produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb would be 2015. A report in the International Herald Tribune states Iran has not violated international law or any treaty by feeding uranium ore concentrate [mainly spent fuel rods] into the initial stage of a process line at its uranium conversion facility at Isfahan.
Irans government signed the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in December 2003. U.N. security cameras are in place at Isfahan. It would seem there is not much likelihood that uranium would be diverted to illegal purposes there.
Release of this information comes at a time of reports that Vice President Cheneys office has ordered contingency plans for a large-scale air assault on Iran, employing not only conventional bombs but also tactical nuclear weaponsso-called bunker buster bombs to destroy underground nuclear facilities. The attack would be justified by terming it a response to a terrorist attack, either by Iran or someone else, on the United States.
Some observers claim that such an attack would result in an immediate and nuclear attack on the United States by those nations including some U.S. allies, who rely on Iranian oil, triggering a global war.
From the Aug. 24-30, 2005, issue