New Yorker: Iran NOT Pursuing Nuclear Weapon

June 02, 2011 9:33 am ET — MJ Rosenberg

An article in the latest New Yorker by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh concludes that most key U.S. officials believe there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon. Hersh interviews dozens of officials in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere and finds that although many believe and will argue that Iran is on the path to a weapon, no one has evidence to prove it. 

Is Iran actively trying to develop nuclear weapons? Members of the Obama administration often talk as if they were a foregone conclusion, as did their predecessors under George W. Bush. There is a large body of evidence, however, including some of America's most highly classified intelligence assessments, suggesting that the United States could be in danger of repeating a mistake, similar to the one made with Saddam Hussein's Iraq eight years ago -- allowing anxieties about the policies of a tyrannical regime to distort our estimations of the state's military capacities and intentions. The two most recent National Intelligence Estimates (N.I.E's) on Iranian nuclear progress. representing the best judgement of senior officials from all the major intelligence agencies, have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.

According to the experts who spoke to Hersh, the reason Iran stopped its efforts in 2003 was the removal of Saddam Hussein. These experts say that Iran's nuclear program was directed not at Israel, as is commonly asserted, but at Iraq, which the Iranians believed was developing  nuclear weapons. Once the United States toppled Saddam's regime, the Iranians abandoned their nuclear program.

So why are U.S. officials hyping the nuclear threat? The answer comes down mainly to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose vicious threats against Israel suggest strongly that if he could eradicate Israel he would. Like Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad likes to suggest that his malevolence is backed by weapons of mass destruction. Saddam, with the assistance of the Bush administration and neoconservatives who wanted to believe him, set the stage for his own destruction.

This time it is the Israeli government and its backers here (led by AIPAC) who are determined to convince the world, without much in the way of evidence, that Iran is on the brink of developing nuclear weapons that it will merrily use on Israel, despite the fact that any such attack would essentially guarantee Iran's destruction. Accordingly, AIPAC keeps getting Congress to pass new and more "crippling" sanctions bills. And it is why AIPAC and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu keep insisting that, in dealing with Iran, "all options" including war must be "on the table." (Ironically, the Israeli government maintains its own trade relationship with the Iranians, something it insists no other country do).

Read the full Hersh piece for all the details, which lead to one conclusion. The goal of Netanyahu and his cutouts here is not to deter a nuclear threat that probably does not exist. The goal is regime change and WMD's are the pretense. When did that last happen? And wasn't it the same Seymour Hersh who warned us about what the neocons in Israel and here were up to?

Fool me once...