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James Clapper on Iran’s nuclear path

https://i2.wp.com/israelinsight.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/iran-nuclear-facilities.jpgThere is an issue I have with the position James Clapper (director of National Intelligence) had stated at the Senate Intelligence Committee — at least as reported by VOA, and the paragraph that reads:

Iran has denied taking part in assassination plots [against Saudi Ambassador to US] and insisted it has no intention of building nuclear weapons. On that second point, Clapper told senators Iran could be telling the truth, at least for now. “They are certainly moving on that path, but we do not believe they have made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,” said Clapper, adding that the extent to which Iran enriches uranium will be a key signal of its intentions.

If, as he says, Iran is moving on that path — namely, toward building nuclear weapons — then it is absurd or meaningless to say that Iran has not made “the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.”  If Iran is moving on a path, it already decided! Secondly, the IAEA report made more clear Iran’s decisions regarding nuclear weapons.

What I do find interesting is Clapper’s other comment that “Iran is increasingly willing to conduct attacks in the United States or against U.S. interests overseas.” That could be signaling raising the rhetoric against Iran to get it to do the wrong thing.

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  1. February 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    After Iraq, intelligence officials are very careful about what they say. What Clapper appears to be saying is that the intelligence suggests Iran is taking action to get closer to developing a nuclear device, yet the intelligence has provided no evidence to support the contention that Iran’s leadership made a formal decision to pursue nuclear weapons.

    I think your point is fundamentally correct. I also think Clapper is just being precise to cover his butt.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Yes, though the difference between the two scenarios is as thin as hair, as it is of very little value in view of the threats and games Iran is engaging in (since 2003) — esp. for Israel (but also for the US, its allies in the region, and the IAEA). In addition, I would not give the enemy the benefit of such a distinction, as if we must first hear from the enemy that they made a ‘decision’ only when they actually achieve a full-blown nuclear bomb ready to use any time. We don’t need the enemy’s formal decision, which enemies tend to not make or acknowledge until it’s far too late. There’s a point where you don’t give your enemy that much of a benefit of the doubt — we certainly didn’t give al qaeda such leeway. In that regard I think Clapper’s comment of little value; in fact, it may be unhelpful since Iran can use it for propaganda purposes.

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