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So maybe the U.S. is secretly helping Iran screw up its nuclear weapons program?

Irans leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

President Obama has often said the way to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is through United Nations and other international sanctions. Put the squeeze on Iran and its leader and they will suddenly give up the drive to become a nuclear power. Lots of international talk, not a whole lot of action.

So far, no good.

Amid the torrent of talk that erupts every Sunday morning on American TV, there was one little-noticed exchange that especially caught our ear.

On his ABC News program "This Week," the alert Jake Tapper was talking with CIA Director Leon Panetta about Iran's efforts. Panetta believes they are bent on developing weapons and thinks they might be about two years away from having a deliverable nuclear bomb.

Tapper asked about suspicions that the U.S. was secretly helping Iran stumble in its research. That wouldn't exactly be transparent, would it? But, hey, when it comes to nukes in the hands of the likes of those types, whatever works, right?

Panetta, of course, is not really going to answer. "Why, yes, Jake. We did give his scientists the incorrect recipe for enriching uranium just the other day."

But see if you read into Panetta's non-answer here a hopeful sign that the Obama administration may not be as passive as it looks:

TAPPER: The administration has continually said that Iran has run into technical troubles in their nuclear program. Is that because the Iranians are bad at what they do, or because the U.S. and other countries are helping them be bad at what they do, by sabotaging in some instances their program?

PANETTA: Well, I can't speak to obviously intelligence operations, and I won't. It's enough to say that clearly, they have had problems. There are problems with regards to their ability to develop enrichment, and I think we continue to urge them to engage in peaceful use of nuclear power. If they did that, they wouldn't have these concerns, they wouldn't have these problems. The international community would be working with them rather than having them work on their own.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Ahmadinejad).

Comments () | Archives (5)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Rubbish. There has been no proof whatsoever that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Just because US and Israeli politicians repeat a lie over and over again does not make it true. And once again, the "main stream media" is complicit as they were in pushing America to war against Iraq. Have you people learned nothing?

Alex, people like you are rubbish... Sure, educated adults need to read between the lines, take things with a grain of salt... but it's clear from the way you brought up Israel and ignore obvious facts (like Iran continuing to enrich contrary to UNSC resolutions as well has hiding all kinds of information, e.g. the hidden plant that they DID have to declare but didn't) that you have an agenda.

People like me are tired of hearing the BS from people like you. Leave Israel out of this, and stop apologizing for what the world knows to be a brutal regime who is not so subtle about exporting terrorism.

What rubbish. In 1984 Iran and the IAEA had planned on cooperating openly in developing enrichment capability until the US pressured the IAEA to illegally withdraw, and since then there's zero evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran. Predictions that IRan is "just 2 years away" from making nukes have existed for over 20 years now.

Remember when the war mongers said that Iraq ALREADY had nuclear weapons and they were going to launch them as early as "next week"?


I've actually been to Iran...I was blown away by how beautiful the Country was and how European and advanced the city of Tehran is today.

The people were incredible! I am as fair skinned a white guya s you want to meet and EVERY person I met was friendly, inquisitive and virtually all people under 50 spoke some English!

While I agree their Theocracy is as attractive as our own Evangelical desire for Theocracy, it is in no means the "evil empire" we are trained to perceive through the media.

As the others have posted, the threat of Iranian nukes has been going on for 20 years!

In the end, the violence that came with last years elections in Iran will serve to change the people and their destiny, much more than our protexct Israel position.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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