Dragging U.S. Intelligence into the Anti-Iranian Mud

December 15, 2017 Topic: Iran Yemen Saudi Arabia Region: Middle East Blog Brand: Paul Pillar

Dragging U.S. Intelligence into the Anti-Iranian Mud

No, Iran isn’t supporting that at all.  There is zero evidence of any Iranian move toward obtaining a weapon with intercontinental reach.  There is no evidence that Iranian military development and procurement are proceeding with anything in mind other than responding to what Iran sees as threats and rivals within its own region.  The heads of the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guard Corps have talked publicly about 2,000 kilometers being a sufficient range for Iranian weapons to meet that need.  Such a range is not just talk and is consistent with the larger strategic logic of Iran's defense posture.  It is a harmful waste of the time and attention not only of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but also of all the intelligence officers who were involved in putting together that display at DIA, to be hyping an imaginary intercontinental threat when the United States faces a real one from North Korea.

We still don’t know exactly where Trump, Haley, or anyone else in the current administration wants or expects to go with their campaign of stoking maximum tension with, and hostility toward, Iran.  But more and more of their campaign sounds a lot like what the Bush administration and neoconservatives were saying about Iraq in 2002 and 2003.  Add to the other similarities a perversion of the relationship between policy and intelligence.

Image: Remains of Iranian drones provided by Pentagon are on display before U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media on highlights of the UN's 2231 Implementation Report at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas