Monday, December 03, 2007

NIE: No Nukes in Iran

A declassified version of the 2006 national intelligence estimate of Iran was released today and according to it Iran has no nuclear weapon program and could not achieve that capability (on its own) before 2010.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.
The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”
The new report comes out just over five years after a deeply flawed N.I.E. concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program — an estimate that led to congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, although most of the report’s conclusions turned out to be wrong.
That certainly undermines any argument for military action against Iran in the short term. However it leaves the door open enough for this to be a cause for concern. I say that because if I were an Iranian nationalist hardliner given the fact that America invaded two of my neighbors for supporting terrorism I'd want the capability of deterring the US from invading my country for the same reason. After all if they punished my neighbors for actions they also accuse me of it would be logical to assume I'm next on the list.

Unfortunately I don't think W is going to deal with this on his watch. Like Iraq and Afghanistan he is going to pass that buck onto the President. Fotunately we have a little breathing room in which to allow sanctions and diplomacy to have an effect before we have to seriously start considering any meaningful military action against Iran. Given the fact that 2010 will roll around on the next POTUS' term you should take a really hard look at your preferred candidate's position on dealing with Iran. This weight will fall on their shoulders after all and you need to make sure that their strategy is one you can live with.