Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions as of February 2012

US intelligence consensus view:

“Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.”

Israeli intelligence says:

“…while Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate these capabilities into a nuclear weapon – or, more specifically, a nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile. Nor is it clear when Iran might make such a decision.”

Compare and contrast with the rhetoric of three of the four Republican Presidential candidates:

Mitt Romney:

Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon…it’s worth putting in place crippling sanctions. It’s worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all of the work we’ve done, there’s nothing else we could do besides mil — take military action, then of course you take military action.

Rick Santorum:

“Any foreign scientists working in Iran on this nuclear program will be termed an enemy combatant and will be subject − like any other enemy combatant, like Osama bin Laden − to being taken out by the United States government as a threat to this country,”

Newt Gingrich:

“I would also point out that a Gingrich presidency would communicate publicly to the Iranians that if they continue to do what they’re doing, they should expect to get hit, and it will be their fault for having caused it.”

And, just for completeness:

Ron Paul:

“I’m afraid what’s going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq. And you know they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and it was orchestrated and it was, to me, a tragedy of what’s happened these past — last 10 years, the death and destruction, $4 billion — $4 trillion in debt. So no, it’s not worthwhile going to war. If you do, you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.”