NY Times: None of Obama Admin Steps are ‘Slowing Iran’s Nuclear Development’

The NYT ReportsNone of the steps being taken by the Obama administration addresses the most immediate goal of the United States and its allies: Slowing Iran’s nuclear development. So inside the American and Israeli intelligence agencies, there is continuing debate about possible successors to “Olympic Games,” the covert cyberoperation, begun in the Bush administration and accelerated under Mr. Obama, that infected Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and, for a while, sent them spinning out of control. An error in the computer code alerted Iran to the attack in 2010, and since then many of the country’s nuclear sites have been modified to defend against such attacks, according to experts familiar with the effort.

All of these options are designed to buy time — to offer Israeli officials a credible alternative to a military strike that would almost certainly trigger an Iranian reaction and, the White House and Pentagon fear, could unleash a new conflict in the Middle East. While Mr. Obama’s national security team has been very closed-mouthed about the tense discussions with Mr. Netanyahu, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, gave voice to the concerns in London on Thursday.

General Dempsey repeated the familiar American position that an Israeli attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”

But then he went beyond any warning that Mr. Obama has given to Israel in public, saying that the international coalition of countries applying sanctions against Iran “could be undone” if the country was attacked “prematurely.” He added: “I don’t want to be accused of trying to influence, nor do I want to be complicit if they choose to do it.”

United States intelligence officials have said they have no evidence that Iran’s top leaders have decided to take the final steps toward a weapon. Iran’s intentions remain unclear, intelligence officials say.

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported an increase in the number of centrifuges that Iran has installed in an underground enrichment plant that is largely invulnerable to Israeli attack, but also indicated that Iran has converted some of its most highly enriched fuel to a form that would be difficult to use in a weapon.

Read more at the Times

09/03/2012 2:19 AM by JPUpdates Staff

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