Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Iran: Now What?

U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago. Here’s a rundown of the story from the New York Times. A new National Intelligence Estimate – which is a report that has the stamp of approval of all 16 U.S. spy agencies – says in part:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.”

The NIE says that the earliest they could produce enough highly enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon is sometime between 2009 and 2015.

This brings up some questions:

- The report also states, “we do not know whether [Iran] currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” Since Tehran’s intentions aren’t known and they have left the door open to develop nuclear weapons, will we still hear saber-rattling from some corners in Washington?

- Will the rhetoric from Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now have a “told you so” attitude? And therefore get more belligerent toward the U.S.?

- Can the report’s conclusions be trusted? There was a National Intelligence Estimate in 2003 that said Iraq did have WMD. And this new report is a 180 from an NIE submitted in 2005.

Stay tuned…



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