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On Sunday the Washington Post published an article that seems to further validate those who believe the Obama administration is running a campaign of leaks aimed at stopping Israel from attacking Iran.
Called “U.S. intelligence gains in Iran seen as boost to confidence,” the article cites “officials” saying that “expanded intelligence collection has reinforced the view within the White House that it will have early warning of any move by Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb….”
Authors Joby Warrick and Greg Miller mention a “covert campaign by the CIA and other agencies to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program” and quote a “senior U.S. official” who claims “there is confidence that we would see activity indicating that a decision [to build a nuclear bomb] had been made.”
The article does include some qualifications, mentioning officials who “conceded that aspects of Iran’s nuclear decision-making remain opaque” as well as “the chastening experience of Iraq.” But its main thrust is that “Israeli officials [who] have pushed for a more aggressive response” are jumping the gun, with “White House officials contend[ing] that…it would take Iran at least a year to [build a nuclear weapon] if it were to launch a crash program now.”
Here it should be noted that this sanguinity clashes with statements just a month ago by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, who warned that Iran had tripled its production of higher-enriched uranium since November and was again denying the IAEA access to Parchin—a site where Iran had done tests that the IAEA considered “strong indicators” of developing a bomb.
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, the New York Times ran a piece suggesting that Washington is somewhat closer to Israeli perceptions. Regarding the new round of negotiations the P5 + 1 countries are supposed to launch with Iran on Friday, David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger cite “American and European diplomats” who say the “Obama administration and its European allies plan to…demand…the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of Iran’s deep-underground Fordo enrichment facility,” which Israel has emphasized as a particularly troubling development.
According to Sanger and Erlanger, Obama and the Europeans are also “calling for a halt in the production of uranium fuel that is considered just a few steps from bomb grade, and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of the country….”
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