I recall that in the wake of the National Intelligence Estimate concluding that Iran had ceased work on its nuclear weapons program, a certain strain of counterintuitive punditry emerged to argue that this publicizing of accurate information constituted serious wrongdoing on the part of the Intelligence Community because Iran hardly had clean hands with regard to nuclear activities and the NIE might take the international pressure off.
I never really understood the logic there, and it doesn’t seem to be happening. Yesterday, we got a new report from the IAEA about Iranian documents they’ve obtained which “strongly suggest that Iran was working on a nuclear weapons design as recently as four years ago.” This is something Iran denied at the time and continues to deny today, because it violates various commitments they’ve made and they don’t want to be punished for it. But the IAEA is evidently keeping up the heat and “the U.N. Security Council is expected to vote tomorrow on a third resolution imposing travel and financial sanctions on Iranian individuals and institutions.”
This is all as it should be. What’s needed in addition is a new administration that’s able to make a new start with these things, say clearly that the United States erred in the past by failing to seize opportunities to improve our relationship with Iran and that we’re eager to take steps in that direction now. But as part of that process we’re going to need the Iranians to go beyond mothballing their program to actually disarming in a verifiable way. Alternatively we could elect the guy who’s been agitating for the overthrow of the Iranian government since 1999 and who likes to joke about bombing their country