During an appearance on CNN’s Lou Dobbs last night, former CIA director James Woolsey, one of the earliest advocates of invading Iraq, claimed that Iran “could have” a nuclear bomb in “a few months.”
“The Iranians continue to work on getting enriched uranium,” said Woolsey. “I’m afraid within, well, at worst, a few months; at best, a few years; they could have a bomb.” Watch it:
Woolsey is doing nothing more than fear-mongering when he says Iran could have a nuclear bomb in “a few months.” In fact, his assertion of an impending nuclear weapon in Iran is contradicted by experts on nuclear weapons, including the CIA.
“Iran is still probably five to 10 years away from gaining the ability to make nuclear fuel or nuclear bombs,” according to Joseph Cirincione, the director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress. In May, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN’s the International Atomic Energy Agency, said “even if Iran wanted to go for a nuclear weapon, it would not be before the end of this decade or sometime in the middle of the next decade,” an estimate that echoed the view of the CIA.
Additionally, Woolsey is a suspect source for claims of urgency when it comes to nuclear weapons, having repeatedly hyped Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capability during the build up to war with Iraq:
“It is urgent that we begin this process of bringing democracy to the Middle East before the region’s most dangerous dictator — Saddam Hussein — gets nuclear weapons.” [5/21/02]
“I think it would be a lot easier to stop Saddam now than it would be two or three years from now when he would be almost certain to have nuclear weapons.” [1/10/03]
Unsatisfied with just invading Iraq, Woolsey is again pushing specious claims of imminent nuclear bombs, hoping the U.S. will move on to Iran next.
LOU DOBBS: Let’s begin with the issue of — the administration has stated categorically, you know, our generals have stated categorically that as many of the third of the deaths last month, for example, were caused by Iranian support of the insurgency and the provision of those shaped charges killing so many of our troops.
Why is there no reaction by this government and this military?
JAMES WOOLSEY: I don’t know. The Persians invented chess and the Iranians are doing a pretty good job of moving their pieces — Muqtada al-Sadr and those explosive devices, and Hamas and Hezbollah around to protect their queen, which is their most lethal piece — their nuclear weapons program.
And I suppose the administration is focused on that. But the way it’s chosen to work on is to, for years, turn it over to the Europeans, who have been stalled by the Iranians and the Iranians continue to work on getting enriched uranium.
I’m afraid within, well, at worst, a few months; at best, a few years; they could have a bomb.