Monday, February 23, 2009

Iran: the enemy that almost isn't

So what happened? Well, nothing. George W. Bush was president, the Iraq war was just approaching the "mission accomplished" phase, and nobody in the White House thought it would look good to make peace with Iran, a country that only the year before had been made a rhetorical component in Mr. Bush's "axis of evil."...As one State Department official directly involved with the Iranian offer told me, "It was like we missed the biggest Middle East peace opportunity of the decade, just so we could keep saying 'axis of evil.' "

So the offer was stuck in a drawer.....

Most of the objection to this scenario, of course, is based on our belief that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. But that, too, is almost ready to vanish into vapour. Our most authoritative source of information about Iran's nuclear program is the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, which stated categorically, based on voluminous sources, that Iran had abandoned its nuclear-weaponsprogram in 2003.....Most informed observers, including Mr. ElBaradei, believe that Iran is merely "hedging" by keeping open the possibility of building a bomb within five to 10 years - exactly what Canada once did..."

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