Further Iran Sanctions Won't Sell Easily After Report

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It's hard to imagine why the White House decided to release the intelligence on Iran, given that it seems to conflict with its policy. President Bush will likely have difficulty selling further sanctions against Tehran now.

DANIEL SCHORR: It's hard to imagine why the White House permitted the release of an intelligence estimate that made a mockery of President Bush's feverish World War III campaign against Iran.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: Presumably, the administration wanted to get the story out with its own spin before it was leaked from an intelligence community that is still displaying the scars of its catastrophic slam-dunk record on Iraq. But the president persists in seeking tougher sanctions against Iran in the belief that the Tehran regime could revive its nuclear weapons program.

This is a moral contrast to how the Bush administration negotiated with Libya to abandon its nuclear weapons program and how the president responded four years ago when Colonel Qaddafi agreed. The president said then, that Qaddafi's action would make the world more peaceful and help Libya to rejoin the community of nations. But when it comes to Iran, there's a certain sense of unreality in the way Mr. Bush regards as member of the axis of evil.

Sometime ago, a senior White House official was quoted by the New York Times magazine as deriding what he called the reality-based community and saying that in the Bush administration when we act, we created our own reality. The question is how many countries share the Bush administration's notion of Iran as an imminent threat?

Mr. Bush is seeking a third and a toughened sanctions resolution against Iran in or out of the United Nations. Yesterday, Mr. Bush telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is flushed with victory in his rigged election. There is no indication that Putin gave any encouragement to the American president in his pursuit of new sanctions, and China has said it will not support new sanctions.

It is not unlikely to escape the political arena at home that President Bush knew or should have known, at least since August, that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program four years ago. Iran figured prominently in the Democratic candidate's debate on NPR yesterday. The certainty with which the intelligence committee made their judgment apparently reflected reliable sources like communications intercepts.

Creating your own reality may work in the White House but not in the external world of reality.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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