In 2009, Fareed Zakaria wrote an article asserting that “everything you know about Iran is wrong.” Following the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, November 8, it seems, rather, that Mr. Zakaria was wrong about everything. Zakaria suggested that Iran did not really want an atomic bomb; instead, it “could well be happy with a peaceful civilian program.” However, according to the IAEA report, Iran is not content with a civilian nuclear program, and is quickly developing nuclear-weapons capabilities. Iran is currently engaged in several projects that have no applicability for a civilian program, e.g., research on nuclear-payload delivery systems.
In his essay, Zakaria accepted Iranian leaders’ solemn pronouncements that they had no desire to acquire nuclear weapons. Both President Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that atomic bombs were “un-Islamic,” and Zakaria swallowed their statements. He did not seem to consider that strategic considerations make it prudent for the Iranians to disavow any nuclear ambitions. Throughout history, most nations have denied pursuing aggressive ambitions when a confession would have brought international opprobrium.
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