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IAEA Iran Nuclear Report: A Skeptic's Primer

Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

With Israel, the U.S. and Great Britain ramping up psy-ops against Tehran in the form of leaked strike planning, the IAEA is set to release its latest and most unambiguous report on the Iranian nuclear program to date. According to advanced word, the IAEA report offers new and convincing evidence of Iranian weaponization intentions. It is a mistake to dismiss such intelligence out of hand, as has become the habit in the post-Iraq WMD environment. After all, despite serious doubts at the time, the consensus of serious observers seems to be that the Syrian site attacked by Israel in 2007 was in fact an undeclared nuclear reactor under construction, as U.S. and Israeli intelligence services maintained.

Still, intelligence can be instrumentalized or just plain wrong. What's more, the disagreements over the Iranian nuclear program are exceptionally complex and opaque, and all the various sides of the policy debate have in the past used exaggerated and hyperbolic arguments to make their case. So in the interests of keeping things anchored to reality, I thought I'd offer the following as a sort of "skeptic's primer" of the arguments you're likely to hear from all sides of the debate that will inevitably unfold in the next few weeks: ...

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