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Obama Team: Yes, Iran Wants Nukes

LA Times: "[T]he Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb."

The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which claimed that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program was a major blow to the US effort to focus attention on Tehran's nuclear ambitions. American and world opinion largely misinterpreted the NIE as grounds to relax about the Iranian program. The NIE did say that Iran had suspended its weaponizing research. But that's the easy part--Iran apparently has bomb designs--and something that can be restarted quickly once the centrifuges have done their uranium-enriching work, which is the real challenge. (Think of someone who has spent an afternoon making cookie dough, but hasn't yet bought a baking pan.) And if you read David Sanger's new book, The Inheritance, even the intelligence officials who composed the NIE apparently didn't expect it to become public--and might have worded it differently had they known it would be seen by a mass audience beyond the select policymakers who would understand its nuances. 

I don't think anyone really has a clue as to what Obama would do if it became clear Iran was ready to assemble a bomb.

--Michael Crowley