Thursday, 6 March 2008

For Iran, (don't) read Iraq

Today's Guardian has the type of story that preceded the invasion of Iraq, an anonymous source feeding a supposedly intelligence-based story about weapons of mass destruction. This time it's about Iran:
The British government said yesterday that Tehran could still be developing a nuclear weapon, and called into question a key American intelligence finding that work on building an Iranian bomb had stopped in 2003.
Apparently, the UK did its own intelligence assessment shortly after the US National Intelligence Estimate said that Iran had dropped its nuclear weapons programme. Was it the Joint Intelligence Committee by any chance?

The anonymous source appears to be Simon Smith, Britain's representative on the International Atomic Energy Authority board, who is quoted directly in the article. The Guardian tells us that:

The evidence has been met with scepticism by several members of the IAEA, who point to the debacle over WMD intelligence on Iraq.

The senior British diplomat said, however: "Just because we got it wrong on Iraq doesn't mean we're getting it wrong on Iran."

Or should that be, 'just because the stories we fed the press on Iraq were dodgy, doesn't mean they won't fall for it again'?

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