The intelligence arms race over Iran's nuclear program continues to escalate: a report from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz claims to have new evidence of Iran's nuclear development, but some sources are skeptical.
This is the latest in the media tug-of-war over intelligence on the elusive Iranian nuclear energy program, which the West fears will lead to the Tehran regime developing a nuclear bomb. The real conflict is not Iran vs. the West, at least not yet. Thus far, it's simply been between Western hawks and Western doves.
The Haaretz report says that Iran is now closer than ever to developing a nuclear bomb, and also says that "this assessment began to take shape in February, when Iran refused to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the base at Parchin."
Haaretz also cited a Daily Telegraph report that said 60 Iranian scientists were brought on to another base near Tehran to help develop the country's nuclear program, and showed a slideshow of what is allegedly a nuclear plant being bulldozed to bury the evidence.
Other sources with distinctly pacifist agendas pointed out that the Haaretz report cites "a Western diplomat who asked not to be named," and the Daily Telegraph piece cited the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK), which has been classified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.
A mere five days ago, the Los Angeles Times published a report quoting Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, a nonproliferation scholar at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, who said "I don't see any particular breakthroughs in the Iranian program. It's been on a pretty steady course. " She added that, as far as preemptive air strikes were concerned, "there is technically no urgency to do this."
Further, the photographic evidence of what appears to be Iran cleaning up a nuclear development plant was discredited by the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based think tank dedicated to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.
Reports pour in on both sides, some saying the program is advanced and could lead to weaponization soon, and others saying there's no evidence for any of these claims. And while the "dove" side of the reports war and the "hawks" battle it out behind the scenes and in the press, military preparations for a possible conflict between Iran and the West, including Israel, have been in progress for years.