Will it? Letting Iran have the bomb means letting the Saudis and Egyptians have it, too, since the U.S. isn’t about to line up against the Sunnis any more so than we’ve already done in Iraq. Israel can’t afford proliferation in the Middle East and the Sunni governments probably aren’t all that hot for the idea either given the threat they face from jihadis, so if it comes to the point where attacking is the only solution, the IAF will play deus ex machina. Or rather, they’ll try to.

But we’re not there yet.

The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful…

“In practice . . . the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.”

The admission is a blow to hopes that a deal with Iran can be reached and comes at a sensitive time, when tensions between the US and Tehran are rising.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies called Iranian nukes “inevitable” eight months ago, so this probably isn’t disinformation. If it is, if it’s the EU’s attempt to play good cop to Bush’s bad cop by giving him cover for an attack in hopes that that’ll bring Iran back to the table, it’s clumsy. A U.S. bombing run would line up Iranian opinion against America and line up American opinion against … America. And the regime knows it.

Meanwhile, Captain Ed says we’ve found the smoking gun(s) that prove Iranian meddling in Iraq. He’s right, but 800 rifles isn’t going to satisfy people as a casus belli any more than 500 chemical shells did.

Update: Former spook Robert Baer says not only is there no smoking gun, there never will be one. The Revolutionary Guards are too smooth.

Update: If, per leftist dogma, Bush is revving up the war machine, why is his Joint Chiefs Chairman downplaying the regime’s responsibility for Iranian armaments flowing in?