If there was a ministry of information it would release reports like this: “US Assures Israel That Iran Threat Is Not Imminent.” But why would Washington need to create such an agency when the New York Times so gladly provides the service?
In a report transparently written as a quasi-official response to Jeffrey Goldberg’s “The Point of No Return,” we learn that contrary to all the feverish speculation about an imminent strike on Iran, it turns out everything’s cool.
And maybe it is — though the Times’ Mazzetti and Sanger could do more credible reporting if they made an effort not to sound like a mouthpiece for the administration.
The one priceless quote in their article comes from Gary Samore, President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues, who when referring to an anticipated one year “dash time” that the Iranians would need to convert nuclear material into a working weapon, said: “A year is a very long period of time.”
Israeli officials said their assessments were coming into line with the American view, but they remain suspicious that Iran has a secret enrichment site yet to be discovered.
American officials said, in contrast to a year ago, that Iran’s nuclear program was not currently the central focus of discussions between top leaders in Washington and Jerusalem. During the last visit to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in early July, the Iranian program was relatively low on the agenda, according to one senior administration official.
The next time Netanyahu takes questions from the press, maybe someone can ask him whether he agrees with the White House’s assessment about the nature of time and that a year is indeed a very long period.
Another issue the article touches upon is the breakout capacity for the long-delayed National Intelligence Estimate. Since the White House seems eager to say what the NIE will say even before its been released, can we interpret this as an effort to shape the report that is itself supposed to shape the administration’s policy?
Finally, just to be sure that the Israel lobby does not become too despondent when they hear another war might not be just around the corner (despite their best efforts), the article closes by saying:
Even as American and Israeli officials agree that the date that Iran is likely to have a nuclear weapon has been pushed into the future, that does not mean that Israel has abandoned the idea of a possible military strike.
American officials said that Israel was particularly concerned that, over time, Iran’s supreme leader could order that nuclear materials be dispersed to secret locations around the country, making it less likely that an Israeli military strike would significantly cripple the program.
So have no fear — the option of a strike is still on the table, or to be precise, at some indeterminate point in the future there might be a strike and it could happen sooner rather than later because at some point (future or past) the Iranians could hide everything and maybe they already have secret facilities in which case the opportunity to destroy them has already past. Clear?