MSNBC political analyst Monica Crowley repeatedly asserted that Iran "may already have" a nuclear weapon, despite the overwhelming consensus of international weapons experts to the contrary. Crowley said that the "maniacs in Tehran" may "already have" nuclear weapons, and that Iran may "pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them." However, The New York Times reported on March 5 that "American intelligence agencies say it will take 5 to 10 years for Iran to manufacture the fuel for its first atomic bomb."
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On the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, political analyst Monica Crowley repeatedly asserted that Iran "may already have" a nuclear weapon, despite the overwhelming consensus of international weapons experts to the contrary. During a discussion with host Joe Scarborough about the possibility that the Iranian government could provide Al Qaeda with a nuclear weapon that could be detonated in an American city -- which also featured a visual graphic representation of the death toll if such a weapon was detonated in New York City -- Crowley said that the "maniacs in Tehran" may "already have" nuclear weapons, and that Iran may "pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them." However as Media Matters for America recently documented, The New York Times reported on March 5 that "American intelligence agencies say it will take 5 to 10 years for Iran to manufacture the fuel for its first atomic bomb." After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country had enriched a small quantity of uranium and was researching technology to enhance its enrichment capabilities, the Times reported on April 17 that intelligence agencies would be forced to revise the current estimate of 5 to 10 years only in the event that Iran succeeded in implementing more advanced centrifuges.
Media Matters also documented a recent disagreement between International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials and U.S. officials over Iran's road to nuclear weapons capabilities. On March 23, Knight Ridder reported that, based on a recent IAEA briefing on Iran's nuclear progress, "U.S. officials and a foreign diplomat" expressed concern that Iran's progress on a network of 164 centrifuges indicated that Iran would be "two to three years away" from a nuclear weapon if it overcame numerous "technical hurdles." On March 25, the Associated Press reported that a senior IAEA official called the U.S. claims about the briefing "pure speculation and misinformation," and that a "diplomat in Vienna" -- where the IAEA is headquartered -- "said some U.S. administration officials were misrepresenting" the briefing. The official claimed that "[i]t comes from people who are seeking a crisis, not a solution" to the confrontation over Iran.
From the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
SCARBOROUGH: Monica, is there any possibility that the Iranian leaders that are in charge right now would ever be so irrational as to launch a nuclear attack on cities like Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., if they got this nuclear device?
CROWLEY: Unequivocally, yes, Joe. And in fact, the hypothetical scenario that you just laid out, that hypothetic ground zero is just a few blocks from where I am sitting here tonight. So, it is an incredibly frightening scenario and absolutely within the realm of possibility given the nature of the regime we're talking about. This Tehran regime covers the terrorist trifecta. They do have weapons of mass destruction, possibly even nuclear at this point. They export terror and they do support Al Qaeda. Some observers -- there's --
SCARBOROUGH: Monica, let me ask you this. I want to show a picture of where you are. Let's go ahead and go to the live shot in New York right now. Monica, if Tehran were to launch an attack -- and we have the shot up of Times Square right now -- if they were launch an attack in Times Square, they would have to know that we would go in and obliterate Tehran and their entire country. I mean -- of course, during the Cold War, we called it mutually assured destruction.
SCARBOROUGH: They have to be logical enough to understand their country would never survive a nuclear attack against us.
CROWLEY: But Joe, you are dealing with a regime that's not logical, and it is also not rational. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, really believes in bringing on a Muslim-led apocalypse. This is what he genuinely believes. You only have to go and look at the statements he makes pretty much on a daily basis. Look, the Tehran regime has missiles with which to deliver the weapons we're talking about. They are intermediate range, meaning they can reach Israel. They cannot yet reach the United States. But that doesn't mean that Tehran-based weapons -- and again, we may be talking about nuclear weapons that they may already have -- they would pass them off to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda then to bring them into the United States and detonate them. There's no reason to suggest that the maniacs in Tehran would not give those weapons to Al Qaeda and allow Al Qaeda to go and do its dirty work for them.