2007 Iran NIE Revisited (Briefly)

I “recently”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/2149/nov-2011-iaea-iran-report highlighted this paragraph from this month’s IAEA report on Iran:

bq. The information indicates that prior to the end of 2003 the above activities took place under a structured programme. There are also indications that some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device continued after 2003, and that some may still be ongoing.

Like some others, I was struck by the extent to which it seemed to support the “2007 NIE”:www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf, which stated that “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” (officials from the intelligence community and other parts of the US government officials have since articulated similar assessments).

Now, it’s true that the IAEA report described post-2003 Iranian activities related to nuclear weapons development. But I had forgotten the NIE’s language which appears to have accounted for at least some of those activities:

bq. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so…We also assess with high confidence that *since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.*

Obviously, I don’t know which projects they were talking about, but I thought that portion worth highlighting.

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