Iran's Uncertain Nuclear Status
In December, the U.S. intelligence community released parts of a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of the current Iranian nuclear program. It had generally been assumed that the Iranians were working intensely to enrich enough uranium to produce nuclear weapons, and that this effort was linked to a substantial program to build (or import) ballistic missiles. The program was considered particularly threatening because on occasion Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that in a just world Israel (the only nuclear power in his region) and the United States should be erased. It seemed likely that the Israelis would take him seriously, and therefore that a nuclear war would be fought with Iran sometime in the next few years. One of its consequences might be the irradiation of much of the world's current oil supply.