As you all know, the “public version of the Iran NIE”:http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf came out yesterday. PDDNI Kerr’s statement is “here.”:http://dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_statement.pdf You can read S Hadley’s statement “here”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/12/20071203-5.html and a transcript of his press briefing yesterday “here.”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/12/20071203-10.html
Kerr explained that the NIE was made public because
bq. The Intelligence Community is on the record publicly with numerous statements based on our 2005 assessment on Iran. Since our understanding of Iran’s capabilities has changed, we felt it was important to release this information to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.
I wish they’d now declassify the 2005 NIE. And more than 4 pages of this one, for that matter. Especially because it covers a bunch of topics in which I am interested:
This Estimate focuses on the following key questions:
• What are Iran’s intentions toward developing nuclear weapons?
• What domestic factors affect Iran’s decisionmaking on whether to develop nuclear weapons?
• What external factors affect Iran’s decisionmaking on whether to develop nuclear weapons?
• What is the range of potential Iranian actions concerning the development of nuclear weapons, and the decisive factors that would lead Iran to choose one course of action over
• What is Iran’s current and projected capability to develop nuclear weapons? What are our key assumptions, and Iran’s key chokepoints/vulnerabilities?
Anyway, the below part of the NIE has received the most attention:
bq. *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. We judge with high confidence that *the halt,* and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, *was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.*
I actually made this same argument about a year ago in a “BAS article.”:http://thebulletin.metapress.com/content/747720r27638k367/fulltext.pdf I also argued that
bq. …the very fact that Iran has previously offered several concessions, as well as curtailed some nuclear activities, should signal to the international community that Tehran has not necessarily committed itself to building nuclear weapons — and that there are those within the regime who are reluctant to risk political and economic isolation.
But it wasn’t just me…people like the “_ACW_”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1722/ic-iran-stopped-nuke-program-in-fall-2003 and “G Perkovich”:http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=19747&prog=zgp&proj=zme,znpp also told you so.
I’ll have a bit more to say about the NIE, but I wanted to get this info up and be obnoxious.
Lastly, I apologize to my 5 or so readers for how ass-tacular this blog has been in recent months. I assure you that my time has been -utterly wasted- well-spent on other stuff.