Non-Shocking Iran News

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I’m just catching up on the news this morning, but apparently Iran is building a second nuclear enrichment facility:

White House officials said Western intelligence agencies have known about the facility for several years and believe that Iran acknowledged its existence Monday in an attempt to head off intense criticism that they knew was coming.

“We believe that the Iranians learned that the secrecy of the facility had been compromised,” a senior White House official said Friday morning. “We’ve been aware of this facility for several years, building up a case so that we had very strong evidence.”

Officials from the United States, France and Britain rushed to brief the IAEA in Vienna on Thursday on what they knew about the facility. U.S. officials said that detailed briefing was provided in an attempt to spark an immediate investigation by the international organization.

I don’t have much to say about this except to note that all our previous intelligence estimates about Iran’s capabilities obviously took this second plant into account, so presumably this doesn’t change our forecasts about how far away they are from enriching enough material to build a bomb.

Hard to say exactly what’s next.  Hillary Clinton noted dryly today that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent statements “illustrate attitudes and approaches that are really at variance with almost universal principles and understanding of historical reality.”  You can say that again.  He certainly seems to be doing everything he can to unite the world against him.  Quite a feat.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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