DNI Blair on Iran

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified before the SSCI on 12 February about, among other topics, Iran’s nuclear program. He stated that, in essence, the 2007 NIE is still operative:

bq. The assessment that was in our 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran’s nuclear weapons programs are _generally_ still valid today. Tehran, at a minimum, is keeping open the option to develop deliverable nuclear weapons. The halt in the recent past in _some aspects_ of the program was primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure. [Emphasis added].

I’m not sure what, if anything, the italicized portions mean, but I thought it’d be useful to highlight them.

More interesting, however, is a statement that Blair made later during the hearing. To me, it may be in tension with the language cited above.

Blair said

bq. Iran is clearly developing all the components of a deliverable nuclear weapons program — fissionable material, nuclear _weaponizing capability_ and the means to deliver it. Whether they take it all the way to nuclear weapons and become a nuclear power I think will depend on — it will depend a great deal on their own internal decisions. [Emphasis added].

Since the “2007 NIE”:http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf stated that “Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program,” the definition of which included “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work,” one can’t be blamed for wondering what Blair was talking about.

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