Iran, especially under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (in photo), poses an ongoing security threat to the United States. But at present, itâ€™s not a threat that justifies talk of war. Thatâ€™s the bombshell take-home message of a new National Intelligence Estimate report on Iranâ€™s rogue nuclear program. The report — the authoritative view of the nationâ€™s 16 intelligence agencies — concludes with â€œhigh confidenceâ€ that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in fall 2003. That finding is in sharp contrast to a previous 2005 NIE report, which held that Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons, no matter the consequences. That assessment, it now seems clear, was wrong.
President Bush in recent months has at times described the Iran threat with overheated, hawkish rhetoric, saying Iranâ€™s nuclear efforts could lead to â€œWorld War IIIâ€ and issuing veiled threats of military force.
Many observers feared that Bush foreign policy hawks, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, were laying the groundwork for a U.S. military strike against Iran before the end of Bushâ€™s term.
The chances of that happening are now remote. This report surely removes any basis for a strike.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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