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Axis of Evil redux

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nuclear-workBy Teymoor Nabili

Another day, another top-level conference to analyse the "Iran threat", and once again the experts' conclusion is sharply at variance with the State Department's preferred narrative.

The Arms Control Association brought together the former IAEA Deputy Director-General for Safeguards Olli Heinonen, the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Senior Fellow for Missile Defense Michael Elleman, and the former National Intelligence Officer Paul Pillar.

Their conclusions?

Elleman - The intelligence community’s worst case scenarios for Iran have not come to pass.

Pillar - Iran is not trying to foment revolutions, even in Iraq, and fears that Iran's nuclear programme is encouraging a middle east arms race are overblown.

Heinonen - Iran is encountering significant problems with its centrifuges.

None of this will make any difference, of course, while the mainstream conversation is dominated by journalists and politicians determined to bang the drum for war. Even now, the usual suspects are looking to draw links and parallels between the latest revelations about North Korea's nuclear activity and Iran, as if reviving the "axis of evil" mentality will somehow be more constructive or insightful than it was last time.

Speaking of questionable narratives, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern highlights some "shocking" comments on Iran contained in George W. Bush's recent memoir.

"What is surprising in the case of Iran is the candor with which George W. Bush explains his chagrin at learning of the unanimous judgment of the intelligence community that Iran had not been working on a nuclear weapon since late 2003."

As  McGovern points out, the frankness of Bush's recollection suggests that the NIE almost certainly de-railed an imminent action against Iran.

Teymoor Nabili is an award-winning presenter and correspondent based in Doha.


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