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Obfuscating Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program

12:49 PM, Feb 15, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Even taking Clapper’s argument about Iran’s “cost-benefit approach” on its own terms it is far from convincing. Iran has already suffered substantial costs in terms of international “prestige” and “influence” – economic and otherwise – and has unquestionably decided that the benefits of acquiring nuclear weapons are worth it. We know this because Iran has borne these costs even while making significant strides toward building nuclear weapons.

Clapper himself writes: “Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses.”

Iran’s rulers, therefore, have acquired the “capacity” to make nuclear weapons. The U.S. intelligence community is simply hoping that there is one last imaginary line for them to cross before they do so.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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