Mitt Romney adviser and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is no stranger to hawkish rhetoric when it comes to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. In January he called for an outright war, telling Fox news “the better way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to attack its nuclear weapons program directly” and, in February, he fanned the flames of war even further, saying, “I don’t think it’s in our interest to stay out” of a war between Israel and Iran.
But while Bolton and his fellow hawks are welcome to assert their own hypotheses about Iran’s nuclear intentions and how the U.S. should respond, the facts about U.S. and IAEA intelligence findings on Iran’s nuclear program are not a matter for debate. Today, Bolton made a completely unsubstantiated assertion about intelligence findings on Iran’s nuclear program, telling Fox News:
Look, if anybody thinks this is for peaceful purposes there are a lot of bridges for sale in New York and the intelligence on this is unambiguous. The International Atomic Energy information on what Iran’s been up to is unambiguous. This is a charade driven by the Obama administration’s need to find something to pressure Israel not to use military force against the Iranian program.
But U.S. and IAEA reports have never shown claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons to be “unambiguous.” In fact, the IAEA has raised questions about possible dual-military-civilian use nuclear technologies but they have not concluded that Iran has decided to restart its nuclear weapons program after its suspension in 2003.
And Israeli and U.S. intelligence reports concur with the assessment that there is no “unambiguous” evidence that Iran has restarted its nuclear weapons program. In February, Director of National Intelligence told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had doubts about Iranian intentions to build a nuclear weapon and that “they’re keeping themselves in a position to make that decision but there are certain things they have not done for some time.”
The Associated Press reported in March that, “Several senior Israeli officials who spoke in recent days to The Associated Press said Israel has come around to the U.S. view that no final decision to build a bomb has been made by Iran.”
Furthermore, Bolton’s claim that the U.S. is only playing for time in negotiations with Iran is contradicted by President Obama’s unambiguous commitment to “preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” and assertion that it was “unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” But while the president has outlined the threat an Iranian nuclear weapon poses to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, the Obama administration believes that diplomacy is the “best and most permanent way” to resolve the crisis.
But all this probably won’t stop Romney from seeking out Bolton’s advice. “I look forward to consulting with him as we campaign to restore America’s standing abroad and ensure that this century is an American Century,” Romney said of Bolton back in January.