It does bear reiterating that as Headline Junkie says even if Iran doesn’t have an active nuclear weapons program there’s still ample reason to be concerned about Iran’s behavior with regard to nuclear issues. The hope should be that this report will help put a dagger through the heart of loose talk about preventive military strikes and regime change — talk that had become part of the problem — and lay the groundwork for a more rational approach to the Iran issue.
It continues to be clear that there are things the Iranians are more interested in than nuclear research, and it also continues to be clear that the decades of animosity between the United States and the Islamic Republic aren’t serving the interests of either party very well. Bush seems too deeply invested in his BS to make any bold strokes at this point, but it’s always worth pointing out that it was Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who co-chaired the CFR task force proposing a “grand bargain” with Iran, working alongside Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security advisor and now in some sense affiliated with the Obama campaign. The wisdom of this approach, not just “diplomacy” but specifically diplomacy aimed at ending the conflict through mutual concessions, is pretty clear even if the US politico-media system often seems too screwed up for anyone to articulate it.