So does this mean the United Nations should back off its sanctions program against the totalitarian regime that runs the country?
Absolutely, emphatically, resoundingly not!
One reason is that our snake-bitten intelligence operatives may be wrong. They have had some serious miscues recently. President Bush admitted in 2005 that part of the pre-war intelligence on Iraq was wrong. And who underestimated the nuclear progress of Libya and North Korea before both those countries were caught in the act?
Another reason is that Iran continues to build its stockpiles of enriched, weapons-grade nuclear material. The report says they are "moderately confident" that the country will be capable of producing enough of this material for a weapon between 2010 and 2015.
Sanctions are working. Intelligence agencies say this was the reason the leaders of Iran stopped building a weapon in 2003.
And they continue to work. Although bolstered by high oil prices, the country's economy is crumbling, and discontent over the current regime led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is steadily rising.
President Bush is undeterred in his push for more sanctions. He's right. The world needs to keep the pressure up. Let's hope he can convince the U.N. Security Council of this imperative.
It is obvious to everyone, including a growing number of people of Iran, that this country needs a regime change.
Sanctions can bring this about -- before our fears become fact.