The Corner

The Iranian A-Bomb

John Bolton’s piece in the Wall Street Journal today is entitled “Get Ready for a Nuclear Iran.” I’ll tell you when I first became resigned — pretty much resigned — to the Iranian A-bomb. Early last year, I was interviewing John Negroponte, the veteran diplomat who had recently been director of national intelligence — in other words, the top intelligence official in the country. He knows more than we do, simply put. A lot more.

I said, “What about Iran and the bomb?” He answered, “I think that’s what they want, I think that’s what they’re headed towards, I think that’s what they’re going to get.” That made me swallow a little, considering the source.

He said that, after he became DNI in 2005, his office estimated that Iran would have a weapon sometime between 2010 and 2015. And “I don’t believe that that assessment has essentially changed.”

“But what about stopping them?” I asked. He answered, “I think we can delay them — through sanctions, through import restrictions, through working with other countries. But definitively stop them? Even if you used coercive means, I think it would be quite difficult by now.”

Above, I said I was “pretty much resigned” to the Iranian bomb. Why not completely so? I bear in mind a conversation — an interview — I had with Dr. Ephraim Sneh, the Israeli politician. He is no righty, though he’s more or less a security hawk. He is known as one of the most pro-Palestinian politicians in Israel, and he is practically best friends with Saeb Erekat, the PLO spokesman and negotiator. Sneh told me that no Israeli government — left, right, or center — would allow Iran to acquire the bomb. It was simply a matter of survival. Israel is absolutely unanimous on this. It has nothing to do with politics — Likud, Labor, etc. According to Sneh, the united Israeli stance is, No Iranian bomb, period.

I can just hear the firmness in his voice when he talked about all this. Anyway . . . guess we’ll see. And wouldn’t it be kind of a shame if the United States — the world’s superpower — let tiny, ostracized Israeli do the work that the whole world needs?

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