Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC): But what General Dempsey said and what other US officials are saying is that they do not believe Iran has actually made the decision to go and produce a bomb. Yes, they want to have the capacity and they want to develop, get the equipment, enrich to 20% and get the fuel ready to make the next leap to 90% for a weapon but that they have not actually made the decision. Do you agree?Now of course Miller is deliberately using the word "capacity" to mean weapon. His examples of countries with capacity are not Brazil, Japan, Canada, Germany or any of the many countries that have legal nuclear weapons capabilities. His examples are India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.
Aaron David Miller (Guest): Maybe yes and maybe no. I think it's impossible to know. Unless you change the motivational character of the mullocracy in Tehran which is going to be very difficult to do without a new regime, then it seems to me that Iran like North Korea, like India, like Pakistan, to a degree even like Israel will want a weapon. It's a form of deterrence. It deals with their profound insecurities and can cover any regional ambitions that they may harbor. Now, whether or not they made a decision or whether or not they are rational actors and would be delayed or be convinced in a compelling way to not move forward is another matter. One thing that is clear to me, if we had no sanctions, if there were no cyber-attacks and even no threats of military action, then the Iranians would already actually have the capacity already to produce a weapon. It's important that we keep the pressure up.
MSNBC: Do you think the pressure alone could prevent them from proceeding?
Guest: I don't. I think diplomacy right now is not an option. A military option by the Israelis would be like mowing the grass. They could not do anything more than retard -- for them it may be good enough to retard for a year to three, but it's like mowing the grass, the grass is going to grow back and this time with a legitimacy and an intensity that the Iranians will use to actually accelerate their own program. So if there is no diplomatic solution and if there's no military action right now, then we drift. And the longer we drift the greater the chances over time that the Iranians will in fact develop a capacity.
MSNBC: What is the bottom line here?
Guest: The bottom line is ...
MSNBC: They are going to get the bomb whether we try to stop them or not?
Guest: I think the bottom line is that they will acquire at some point the capacity to actually produce a weapon if they want to, if they want to go that way.
Andrea Mitchell along with Miller is calling the capacity, legal under the NPT, to build a weapon "the bomb".
But the important issue is that there is an admission, even by a "former State Department negotiator" that sanctions and military attacks both cannot prevent Iran from gaining legal nuclear weapons capabilities.
Once a US President is able to say this publicly, there is no longer any dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Israel wants there to be this dispute, and therefore these threats, these sanctions and these covert actions against Iran anyway, not because of the nuclear issue but because like probably every non-Jewish Middle Eastern population, Iran's population does not consider Israel legitimate and a government that reflects its population's views should be sabotaged just for that.