Does New Information Regarding Iran's Nuclear Program Warrant a Change in U.S. Policy?

Posted by Frederick Jones
December 4, 2007
Iranian Uranium Conversion Facility

The December 3, 2007, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran judges with high confidence that Iran halted its covert nuclear weapon program in the fall of 2003, although it continues to pursue work on uranium conversion and enrichment. On December 4, President Bush expressed his belief that Iran’s declared and covert nuclear programs were and still are very much a threat to the international community.

In light of new information indicating that it's unlikely Iran would be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for another 3 to 8 years, should the U.S. change its policy toward Iran?

Comments

Comments

Tip
|
Massachusetts, USA
December 5, 2007

Tip in Massachusetts writes:

Without a doubt. How can we expect Iran to help with Iraq in anyway if our own intelligence reports are saying they do not have the capability of making uranium for another 3-8 years? If we continue to say "Yeah, but still, they may do it." This will only encourage them for a more hard line approach and stop the Mideast peace process. I think we need to do something to recognize that: A) Bush was wrong -a common theme lately - and B) Make some sort of judgment on how to handle the latest economic sanctions against Iran.

Deborah
|
Ohio, USA
December 5, 2007

Deborah in U.S.A. writes:

"In light of new information indicating that it's unlikely Iran would be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for another 3 to 8 years, should the U.S. change its policy toward Iran?"

***
Yes.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
December 5, 2007

Joe in Tennessee writes:

This situation reminds me of the old Snake and rabbit parable.

A rabbit was at the edge of a river and talking to himself. My how I wish I could cross over the river to see the other side.
A snake who was sunning himself nearby slithered over and said ...I can take you Mr. Rabbit.
The rabbit was astonished and scared, replying...you will eat me, you are a snake.
The snake replied, I would have already if I wanted to. I did not eat you as I am full and am going that way anyway.
The rabbit agreed and held on to the snakes tail as he slithered across.
As soon as they reached the other side the snake turned and bit the rabbit.
In the rabbits last breaths he cried: Why did you bite me? You promised you would not.
The snake replied: Swimming made me hungry, besides I'm a snake.

The Iran leader is a Snake ...with an obvious Napoleonic complex like many of his allies. Little Hitlers.

This is standard Russian Propaganda efforts: Putin has been directly involved since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad directly stated: "We will use our Nuclear efforts in any light we so deem." What about that and the other statements he made against Israel did you not hear?

1. Why did Iran hide the three locations of centrifuges, one purposely beyond any bunker bomb capability?
2. Why did President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declare this was his intent? To protect with the use of WMDs.
3. Why is this coming only after Russias intervention?
4. Did everyone forget about Grand Ayatullah Sayid Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini and the Holy war he's declared?
5. President Bush is considering both the political and religious elements of the promised intent of the leaders of both parties and their actions. For you who have no legal background, study intent laws which govern many mandated laws. Anywhere in a democratic society both leaders would legally have been incarcerated for their words alone against a free society or individule.
6. The radar system which protects the locations on the river gorge is an updated and highly sophisticated Russian detection system that encompasss both ground and air. Why do they have to guard something which does not threaten or has lethal intent? You do not have to hide what is honest.
7. What makes you think they will not sell off the enriched products to another country for manufacture of WMD?
8. Why is it that Russia wanted to monotor the manufacture distribution of end product of our friends, as Putin put it.

Simply put, a snake is a snake is a snake.

Bush is right as was his father. Like it or not, the truth stands for itself.

Metaz
|
Syria
December 5, 2007

Metaz in Syria writes:

Iran can go ahead and build a hundred N bombs. Rather than attack the program, the World should give them few, so what now!!

Iran strategic importance will not improve any bit, on the contrary. Iran importance lies not in its supposed N program but in the fact that it has a very cohesive Nationalistic and religious society that is also highly technically advanced, solid democratic institutions, sophisticated trade, science and culture institutions in addition to other resources that include massive oil and gas reserves and the cash revenue that it generates. That is the real strategic strength of Iran in a region where only Israel can match it; although Israeli economy is more advanced in the technology and medical fields and its technology based export business makes up for Iran oil and gas revenue, Iran can within 5 years supersede the benchmark. Other countries simply have lost the development curve and will remain as is, that is countries will just be selling oil to the world and keep the money invested in the buyer countries for lack of technologically based economies locally.

The trouble, the real serious trouble in the Middle East will start in 2012 when the population of the Arab and Islamic country is nearly doubled and there are no resources or developed economies existing to support all the unemployed and under educated youth. It will make this decade trouble looks like it was a ride in Disneyland.

No one cares, no one have the vision to see it coming, no one has the will to do something about it and they will not even support someone that can solve the problem so just wait and then the world will find out how wrong they are thinking that those people will just simply live like they lived under the Ottoman’s. They failed to realize that we live in the Internet and Television age, were people can be sparked to action with few lines and hell will break loose.

yonaton
|
Florida, USA
December 5, 2007

Yonaton in Florida writes:

"Does New Information Regarding Iran's Nuclear Program Warrant a Change in U.S. Policy?"

That depends on the reliability of the information, about which I am really skeptical. I mean, if the racist so-called "Palestinians" can con America into believing they want peace rather than their real program of genocide of Jews, then it certainly is possible that the "new information" isn't true. I would even suggest it is highly likely.

Wo, to answer your question, in a word, "No!"

P.S. By "No!" I mean to not become more lax. If anything, it would be prudent to "change" by demanding immediate transparency and access to anywhere U.S. (not UN) inspectors wanted to go, on demand - no waiting time (surprise inspections), and setting up monitoring stations at what we feel are critical sites, just for starters. I also feel a credible threat of military intervention, a la Iraq, would speed the process along, one way or other.

Patrick
|
New York, USA
December 6, 2007

Patrick in New York writes:

If you don't know enough about this issue to know that the Iranian President doesn't control the Iranian military and so wouldn't control nuclear weapons if they had them, then you should probably keep your mouth shut and do some reading. It doesn't matter that he is evil, or crazy. He has recently had his authority undercut by the religious authorities in the country anyway so he is strictly a sideshow. (the very negative op-ed in a conservative Iranian paper was a clue that he is not the mullah's darling anymore.)

Is it clear what US policy towards Iran is? It seemed to me that political advisors in the White House with no military experience wanted war, career military officers were working behind the scenes against a war, and the democrats in congress weren't united behind any firm position at all. Should it change the policy which has been decided upon by the political hacks in the White House? Sure, but seeing as how there never was any reason to go to war with Iran in the first place it is not clear that rationality rules in the White House anymore anyway.

For one thing it is not clear on what authority we declare that Iran cannot have the bomb. I do not know of a treaty or UN resolution that entails that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon that we are also not in violation of for not reducing our stockpile and for supporting Israel's nuclear program.

Apart from any legal or moral questions it is just a fact that we cannot do anything but bomb Iran from a distance. (or we could have a draft. That would be fun, I really hope that Bush tries that. The democrats would be essentially unopposed in every national election from now till my unborn grandkids have arthritis) Now if they do have a secret weapons program (perhaps they got some material from Khan before he got shut down), the NIE establishes that we do not know where the work is being done or where the material is. So where do we bomb? It seems to me our only targets would be those facilities involved in civilain power programs, because of their potential to be used for weapons programs. So what we are talking about is attacking civilian power stations in a country with more soldiers than we have in Iraq right now? When they are not yet dependent on those power stations, so it would make no difference to their warmaking capacity. That sounds bright. And what does the Badr group in Iraq do once we bomb their benefactor? Do they start killing every American they find instead of every Sunni? If none of these strategic and tactical considerations changed their mind, the NIE won't.

yonaton
|
Florida, USA
December 6, 2007

Yonaton in Florida writes:

UPDATE: Reliability of the Info., in the NIE report...

After listing and analysing 5 serious flaws, the author concludes with this assessment....

"That such a flawed product could emerge after a drawn-out bureaucratic struggle is extremely troubling. While the president and others argue that we need to maintain pressure on Iran, this "intelligence" torpedo has all but sunk those efforts, inadequate as they were. Ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions in an essentially unmolested fashion, to the detriment of us all.

[BY: - John R. Bolton, ... former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR200712...

You should read the whole thing. Hopefully you will get some sense of what deep trouble we are in, as if America's treatment of Israel hasn't already clued you in to that.

schmetterling
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 6, 2007

S in Washington, DC writes:

Read John Bolton's excellent assessment of that flawed declass NIE report in today's Washington Post here: www.washingtonpost.com, and you will know: the Islamic republic of Iran is more dangerous than ever, what in god's name was the IC thinking, when they put that anemic report together? Giving succor to the ever devious and disingenuous Persians? It is as if the IC has lost its way, and thinks that making overly cautious and very misleading statements about Iran's intentions on the nuclear weaponizing front, in the face of all factual evidence to the contrary, is the way to go; to be overly timid and too cautious in its assessment, on account of the overly politicized analysis it did on the threat from Iraq? Crazy!

I tell you, we are really paying the price for Iraq-because we cried fire in the concert house when there was no fire, now, when there is a raging, white-hot blazing fire-the Islamic republic of Iran- a murderous, thug-like, outlaw, out-of-control terrorist-sponsoring country that threatens not only this country but the entire world order, and which very shortly will be an out-of-control "fire;" nobody wants to say it, because the IC is so afraid of being called chicken little -hence, this whitewashed, ineffectual NIE report comes forth!

Has the IC forgotten all of the murderous acts of Iran going back to the American embassy hostages it held for 444 days back in 1979? Khobar towers? The Buenos Aires synagogue bombing? The torture and murder of CIA Station Chief Buckley? The aiding and abetting in the bombing of PAN/AM 103? Hezbollah jumping on Navy Diver Stetham's body in the hijacking of TWA 847, simply because of his USG passport? Just to mention a "few" of the evil acts of this inherently devious and deceptive Islamic government?

And for those of you who believe "appeasement" of the Islamic republic of Iran is the way to go, you would be well advised to remember the words of Winston Churchill, (whose own Chamberlain engaged in such a path prior to WWII, and look where that got them, huh?) "...an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

James
|
Virginia, USA
December 6, 2007

James in Virginia writes:

As far as I know, the general summary of the U.S.-Iran policy is:

- sanction and encourage others to follow our lead
- remove no options from the table
- engage in limited talks at appropriate levels to see where diplomacy may lead

This report shouldn't change that.

yonaton
|
Florida, USA
December 7, 2007

Yonaton writes:

This just in: http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/019049.php

"The United Arab Emirates has impounded the cargo of a vessel bound for Iran after discovering that "hazardous materials" aboard contravened UN sanctions placed on the Islamic republic to curtail its nuclear development programme"

It also mentions that the UAE didn't say what that cargo was, which, IMO, "says" a lot.

So, are the folks responsible for the publicized NIE "intelligence" really not, themselves? Or, do they have a political agenda and are they attempting to limit the President's options (shadow governance)? Neither possibility (ignorance or malice) speaks well of the U.S. intelligence community.

Dolphin
|
District Of Columbia, USA
December 7, 2007

Dolphin in Washington, DC writes:

It would seem our Great Society somehow trusted in the wrong personnel long ago.

We are on the brink, not because of lack of U.S. intervention, but due to the failure of one of the Societies memebers.

What were THEY thinking...or what ARE THEY THINKING.

This situation could have been averted long ago.

I can say no more.

Benjamin
|
South Carolina, USA
December 9, 2007

Ben in South Carolina writes:

Yes. It confirms that smart power trumps both hard and soft power, if employeed individually.

It confirms that even the best negotiations are useless if the negotiations are also toothless.

Smart power does not exist if there is not a credible coercive force and a willingness to employ it.

In contrast look at UN/EU efforts in the Sudan. There is NO credible coercive force nor a willingness to deploy it. When that happens you get this circular "diplomacy" that results in suffering of attrition. (This is only one facet of the huge problem that is Sudan and employing a Smart Power strategy in Sudan would only accomplish one important part of a real comprehensive solution.)

Can State communicate the Iran result as a Smart Power strategy that our allies will accept? Maybe. It will be difficult. Perhaps public diplomacy can pave the way? Make things easier?

L.CPL. U.
|
Florida, USA
December 9, 2007

Rick in Florida writes:

"I think we should shift American and allied forces from Iraq and Afghanistan"? ...From Iraq to the border of Iran and from Afghanistan to the border of Pakistan and we must improve relations with India by doing this we can analyze whether the Iraqi and Afghan Forces are ready to take the Lead and Defend them selves. I Know that if this does not work that we could be facing a three or four front war. But the same way Israel prospers and is in GOOD health ...so, will the United States!! We are winning the War in Iraq and Afghanistan we are winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi and Afghan people.

The enemy flees with great fear!! Why isn't the Media reporting this? I think the liberal media wanted to make it look hopeless and as if we were losing like the lies of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha, who should be encouraging, motivating and Inspiring the American people and troops!! And they think they are leaders? Wait till you see your tax bill!!

Carl
|
Texas, USA
December 10, 2007

Carl in Texas writes:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/455zal...

So "international pressure" -- namely Operation Iraqi Freedom -- scared Iran's high and mighty Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei into suspending but not necessarily abandoning his country's nuclear weapons program. If that's the case, then I just saw my favorite kind of diplomacy at work. I already think we should delegitimize Iran's current regime entirely and "immediately commit significant financial resources to help pro-democracy groups in Iran," as Kenneth Timmerman put it in 'Countdown to Crisis,' to be sure.

Rachel
|
Texas, USA
December 10, 2007

Rachel in Texas writes:

The comments above have provided some excellent and highly informative reading; many thanks for the analysis!

I thought it interesting, however, that the one thing not addressed directly by any of the comments, has been the qualifier of the question itself.

The question is based upon the premise of "new information that it's unlikely Iran would be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for another 3 to 8 years."

Do we have any proof that Iran has changed its posture with the release of this information? The information would seem to indicate that if they had the capability, they would go for it. Perhaps now the time-line is 3 to 8 years [one or two administrations from now], but what if something happens in the next year or so to change that time-line?

Should the United States react to possibilities or actual probability? I would suspect that should we change our Foreign policy every time the possibilities for a country changes, no one else would ever know where America stood on an issue, let alone America herself.

In this instance, it's important that America maintain as steady a course as possible, and base those courses on circumstances which are likely to occur, rather than hypothetical possibilities.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
December 10, 2007

Eric in New Mexico writes:

It is problematic to base policy on probability.

Sometimes it's all you have to go on. Be nice if it were different, but I doubt very much that the transparency issues with Iran will be resolved anytime soon.

"A high degree of confidence" equates to informed speculation. That much I know without reading the NIE, but until I can, I'll refrain from drawing conclusion as to whether a policy change would result or even if it should.

Does it address the question of whether Iran has already acquired nuclear weapons from a third party off the black market?

That's what I'd really like to know, and if that has not been, then please get back to the drawing board on your overall conclusions of nuclear potential.

The heck with political motivations, lives are at stake.

With Regards.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
December 11, 2007

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I believe it's been quite well answered in a past post and my Position has not changed one degree. In fact, the very nature of the move can be interpreted as a ploy by the very history, nature, politics and religious background of Iran, thus making it an act of DECEPTION. This would heighten my awareness and concern, not lower the bar. To lower our defense would be an act of ignorence and not in the best interest of National Security.

I agree with President Bush 110 percent and see it as nothing more than a political move to cover up their actions and intent. This is rather standard protocol historically for an Arab nation addressing any non-Islamic nation. They owe no allegiance to their word in these cases.

The shame is in the leaders, both politically and religiously. There are many good and trustworthy Iranians both in America, world wide and in Iran who are not represented by those in power. It is acknowedged by the propaganda use of the restictions by their leadership. They show no responsibility for their decison makeing. Only transference to a secondary or third party.

...and as far as thier leadership: A SNAKE IS A SNAKE IS A SNAKE...and it will bite you sooner or later.

Patrick
|
New York, USA
December 12, 2007

Patrick in New York writes:

One way to know that someone believes in X irrationally is that for any purported counterevidence to X, the person continues to beleive in X. Now the bare fact that conservatives are rushing to claim that politial appointees like John Bolton know more about these issues than career intelligence officers or that Iran has tricked the intelligence community (no evidence that this has happened is offered) does not show that such conservatives will cling to their belief in Iran's nuclear program no matter what. But it sure does make one suspect they would.

If you are taking it on faith from men like George Bush that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, when even the CIA says they don't, then you are a fool. You are a dangerous fool as well, with no regard to the lives of American soldiers that will die if your ignorant blustering on the topic gains enough credence among the American people for them to accept an attack on Iran. My brother is shipping out to Southern Iraq in a couple of weeks. I pray that, if we go to war because of the stupidity of those insisting that contrary to all stated evidence, Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and so as a result thousands more in Iraq die because of a Shi'ite movement against us, that you reap what you will sow.

That means I hope you lose family like I probably will.

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