- Allison Kilkenny
A whopping 71 percent of Americans believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey.
More than six in ten think the U.S. should take economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down their nuclear program, with only a quarter calling for immediate military action.
I like this part: “with only a quarter calling for immediate military action.” I probably would have written something like, “HOLY SHIT! DID YOU HEAR 25 PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY WANTS TO BOMB IRAN RIGHT NOW??” But whatever. Blasé works too, I guess.
In reality, Iran doesn’t have The Bomb. They have a small amount of refined uranium (19.5%, cutely rounded up to 20% by NRO’s Mark Steyn), which is allowed under the treaty that they have signed. This is the refinement level for use in medical facilities and supplying electricity. There is little evidence they’re working on a nuclear warhead, which would require a much higher level of refinement, and the so-called evidence that exists is highly speculative. Additionally, their supreme leader/commander-in-chief continues to decry nukes as illegal in Islamic law.
Juan Cole reports that the IAEA is at least allowing for the possibility that documents allegedly found on a laptop some years ago –but discounted by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency as being of “dubious provenance and incompatible with other intelligence gathered in Iran — point to a nuclear weapons program that no one has been able to locate.”
The source of these charges was not identified, but many close observers believe it is Israel, a country that possesses nuclear weapons, supports the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and performs cross-border assassinations, and has long advocated two propaganda points: The 2007 NIE report on Iran is wrong, and Tehran is poised to build nukes. Meanwhile, some observers have concluded that the so-called laptop smoking gun is a forgery.
Of course, concocting forged documents to lead America into war is a familiar tradition. Supposed copiously documented evidence of Nigerian yellowcake uranium was the “evidence” used to lead the US into Iraq.
I agree with Cole when he says the IAEA has the right to be frustrated with Iran, which has certainly not been totally transparent. But frustration with the Iranian regime, which – for some reason — has been hesitant to openly share every detail about its refinement program with a country that is busily bombing or occupying four nearby countries, does not mean Iran has nuclear weapons.
The US intelligence community publicly stress that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. It’s important to repeat that message, especially when the US population is confused (a media-reinforced stupor that allowed them to be easily corralled into supporting the Iraq invasion).
Russia’s General of the Army and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Makarov, warns that an American attack on Iran now — when the US is already bogged down in two wars (if we’re not counting the offensives in Pakistan and Yemen) — might well lead to the collapse of the United States.
One needn’t be a Russian General to see how that’s possible. The US economy is in terrible shape. What was left of the nation’s treasure went to bail out the financial sector. Unemployment may be at 10 percent until the end of the year, one in six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, and one in ten is on food stamps.
Now is the time to pull out of the Middle East and focus what’s left of America’s resources on repairing domestic damage – not to escalate the US’s imperialist agenda by attacking Iran over highly dubious claims, a decision that would unleash unimaginable destruction and potentially send the US into an irreversible tailspin (if we’re not there already).