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Spiegel Online: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?
Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what [IAEA head Mohamed] ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn't enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.
But watch how the press reports claims by those who want the United States to bomb Iran about the imminent danger posed by Iran's nuclear program without contradiction. It will be exactly like the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. No lessons have been learned. It is as though the news media is saying "We have been studying the mistakes that we made and are prepared to repeat them exactly."
Only this time the consequences for everyone in the United States will be much greater. No Iraqis outside of Iraq have committed terrorist attacks against us as a result of the invasion of their country. In fact, most ex-patriot Iraqis supported the invasion. Very few, if any, of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the United States will support us bombing their country.