IRAN AND THE NPT....Headline Junky sounds a note of caution
about the new NIE on Iran's nuclear program:
It's important not to overlook, though, the fact that Iran's entire nuclear program is the result of a decades-long clandestine procurement effort that was in direct violation of their legal obligations under the NPT, that at no time since the program was revealed has Iran ever been in full compliance with its obligations under the NPT, and that they have repeatedly backtracked on promised concessions both to the IAEA and EU.
....There's no question that the Bush administration's approach to the standoff has been needlessly bellicose, and remarkably uncreative, given the openings for a broader kind of bargain that seemed possible in 2003....But in the rush to celebrate Cheney's defeat, we shouldn't treat Iran with kid gloves. My thoughts have evolved on this question over time, it's true, primarily due to getting pretty deep into the weeds on the issue. A unilateral strike would be disastrous. But so would a nuclear-armed Iran outside the NPT. Of the two, the second would probably be more manageable, and therefore less undesirable. But it's by no means a benign option.
There's more at the link, and it's a pretty reasonable roundup. It's worth remembering that just because the Bush administration has pursued an indefensible policy regarding Iran doesn't automatically make Iran a sympathetic figure in all this. They have plenty to answer for too.