In late November of 2007, the world–and especially the progressive blogosphere–was shocked when the George W. Bush administration released a National Intelligence Estimate that came to the firm conclusion that Iran had suspended work on its nuclear weapon program back in 2003. This was the same Bush intelligence community that had produced the fraudulent NIE in 2002 that came to the false conclusion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and intended to restart development of nuclear weapons. The progressive blogosphere had made a regular habit of predicting new dates for when Israel, or even the US, would attack Iran under the guise of stopping its development of nuclear weapons. The rate of new predictions for attacks slowed considerably in the face of the 2007 NIE.
In September of 2009, speculation on plans to attack Iran got a new impetus, as the US announced the discovery of a previously secret uranium enrichment facility being built by Iran deep inside a mountain near Qum. Rhetoric from the US heated up considerably in response to this discovery:
Mr. Obama’s aides and a raft of intelligence officials argued that the small, hidden plant was unsuitable for producing reactor fuel that might be used in a peaceful nuclear program. Moreover, its location, deep inside an Iranian Revolutionary Guards base about 20 miles from the religious center of Qum, strongly suggested it was designed for covert use in weapons, they said.
Late Friday afternoon, preparing to return to Washington, Mr. Obama issued a stark warning about the nuclear negotiations that are to begin next week, the first direct talks between the two countries in 30 years.
“Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on Oct. 1 they are going to have to come clean and they will have to make a choice,” he said. The alternative to giving up their program, he warned, is to “continue down a path that is going to lead to confrontation.”
Shortly after the discovery of the Qum facility was announced, the Stuxnet worm was released. Read more