There Is No Iranian Nuclear Threat

I’m going to keep saying it until the American-Israeli threats against Iran stop. Reuters reports what everyone should know:

The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

Indeed, this has obviously been true for years. The official position of practically every authority on this subject has been: Iran has no nukes and is not trying to get them. This “impending” threat from Iran is completely bogus. Yet we see the anti-Iranian rhetoric stepping up, month by month, all toward an increasingly likely culmination in the form of war. Insanity.

In the last nine years, we have heard the repeated myth that “everyone thought Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction” and “everyone thought Iraq was a threat.” This is not true, of course. Shortly before the Iraq war, working as an intern at the Independent Institute, in my first op-ed, I warned:

Colin Powell revealed a photograph to the UN Security council, supposedly of a “terrorist poison and explosive factory.” He also accused Iraq of evading U.N. inspectors by moving mobile biological weapons labs before the inspectors arrived.

The so-called poison factory — located in Iraqi territory controlled by Kurdish allies of the United States — turned out to be a television studio.

The so-called mobile weapons labs were food-testing trucks, according to chief inspector Hans Blix. Blix has also said that there exists no proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, and that the “reported movement of munitions at the site could just as easily have been a routine activity.” As long as Bush bases his reasons for attacking Iraq on Hussein’s disrespect for the United Nations, it would seem consistent that he listen to it.

The administration cites intelligence reports to infer an impending threat from Iraq. But CIA sources reportedly accuse Bush of misinterpreting the evidence. Last July the CIA reported that Iraq had no demonstrated connection to September 11, posed no threat for the “foreseeable future,” and that attacking Iraq would actually increase risks of terrorism against the United States — an assessment the agency has not abandoned despite its other shifting sentiments.

Even if Saddam had WMD that wouldn’t have justified invading the country, and even if today Iran were on the brink of getting nukes, it would not justify bombing Iran (just as it would be unjustified to bomb Israel or the United States, two countries that have hundreds and thousands of nukes, respectively, the latter of which has actually used them to kill many tens of thousands of innocents).

But I recall very clearly many antiwar voices in 2002 and 2003 pointing out that the claim that Saddam had WMD was without any credibility—it was mostly assertions relying on unsubstantiated evidence, such as Powell’s speech to the UN that millions of Americans saw for the transparent tissue of nothingness that it was. Many other sources cast serious doubts on Bush’s war propaganda before the bombs fell. Yet somehow after the war began everything got twisted around. The CIA in particular was blamed for furnishing false intelligence when, in fact, the CIA was probably more reluctant about the war than the administration had been.

So now I think it’s important that antiwar voices be even louder in calling out the war propaganda. If war breaks out and and a year later we hear, “Everyone thought Iran was seeking nuclear weapons,” I want it on the record that many of us did not.

See also my last two pieces on the topic:
Insinuation as War Propaganda” and “Don’t Fear Iranian Nukes.”

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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