IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM….The Guardian reports on a leaked European document about Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb, according to the latest western intelligence assessment of the country’s weapons programmes.

….The 55-page intelligence assessment, dated July 1 2005, draws upon material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies….

The assessment declares that Iran has developed an extensive web of front companies, official bodies, academic institutes and middlemen dedicated to obtaining ? in western Europe and in the former Soviet Union ? the expertise, training, and equipment for nuclear programmes, missile development, and biological and chemical weapons arsenals.

I’m not sure what to make of this. I don’t have any trouble believing that this is true, but on the other hand the “leak” is pretty obviously deliberate and the article gives no indication of what the assessment is based on. What’s more, given the track record of western intelligence over the past few years, I’m reluctant to take their conclusions at face value just because they happen to seem believable to me.

So: maybe this is for real. Or maybe it’s just an effort to prepare public opinion for a military strike against Iran. Stay tuned.

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