Dennis Ross has published quite a disingenuous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which portrays the typical NeoCon talking points about Iran: portraying Iran as a threat, deliberately confusing a civilian nuclear program with a nuclear weapons program by referring to a nuclear weapons "capability", calling for the continuation of "pressure" , evading the real fact that the nuclear issue is simply a pretext for regime change, and portraying the issue as a false choice between sanctioning Iran versus bombing Iran which deliberately ignores a third option of actualy engaging Iran.
The disingenuousness of Ross comes through clearly in his concluding paragraph, where he asserts:
With the Iranian regime reeling, an increase in pressure can once again put Iran's leaders in a position where they seek a way out. That way out must not leave the Iranians with the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time of their choosing. They can have civil nuclear power. They cannot have the means to translate that into nuclear weapons.
In fact, having a nuclear weapons "capability" is inherent in having a civilian nuclear program. As the IAEA has noted, more than 40 countries already have the "capability" to make nukes.
And according to Greenpeace
The first point to note is that military and civil nuclear activities share, for the atomic bomb and the atomic trigger of the thermonuclear warhead, the same nuclear processes and materials...The second point is that the processes of manufacture, procuring, refining and enriching these materials are exactly the same for both military and civil needs...The third point is that as civil applications of nuclear power advance there is a wider crossover into the domain which has been until recent years almost exclusive to the military.
There is no way, in short, for Iran to have a nuclear program that does not also make it theoretically "capable" of making nukes. And yet despite this, Iran has already offered to not only ratify the Additional Protocol (which allows more intrusive inspections) but to also place additional restrictions on its nuclear program WELL BEYOND its legal obligations - even including opening the program to joint US operation - in order to address the even hypothetical concerns about weapons proliferation - only to have the offers totally ignored by the US.
So, Ross' argument that Iran should "not be allowed" (I guess Iran's NPT rights don't count!) to have a nuclear "capability" is in fact a bullshit justification for the continuation of the same policies that have thus far accomplished nothing more than to create the groundwork for a justification for war.
Nor should this come as a surprise because justifying a war has been Dennis Ross' agenda all along. As the Leveretts pointed out:
Dennis Ross had told us, before entering the Obama Administration, that he did not believe a U.S. strategy of “engagement with pressure” toward Iran would actually work to stimulate productive diplomacy, but would be necessary to lay the ground work for further sanctions and, eventually, military strikes against the Islamic Republic.