When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes to the podium, his speeches are often streaked with firebrand rhetoric against the West, and toward the United States and Israel in particular. On several occasions he has made ambiguous threats against both countries, even threatening to “wipe Israel off the face of the Earth.” When considered in context of a secret Iranian nuclear program, it’s no surprise that Washington and Jerusalem take a hard-line stance against such antagonism.
An NPR interview with Georgetown University professor Paul Pillar takes a different stance on Iran’s threats to the West. Pillar, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. intelligence community, says that not only do we overestimate the pace of Iran’s nuclear program, most people have a skewed view of Iran’s real ambitions:
New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bill Keller believes that the current public debate within the U.S. also strays away from reason. Keller says current foreign policy debates add more misinformation about Iran’s nuclear plans as well as the country’s role as a regional player in the Middle East: