Jump to content

US: Iran nuclear weapons work halted in 2003


FutureGM
 Share

Recommended Posts

WASHINGTON - Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003 under international pressure but is continuing to enrich uranium, which means it may still be able to develop a weapon between 2010 and 2015, senior U.S. intelligence officials said Monday.

 

That finding, in a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, is a change from two years ago, when U.S. intelligence agencies believed Tehran was determined to develop a nuclear capability and was continuing its weapons development program. It suggests that Iran is susceptible to diplomatic pressure, the official said.

 

"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005," states the unclassified summary of the secret report, released Monday.

 

Officials said the new findings suggest that diplomacy has been effective in containing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

 

"This is good news in that the U.S. policy coupled with the policies and actions of those who have been our partners appear to have had some success. Iran seems to have been pressured," one of the officials said. "Given that good news, we don't want to relax. We want to keep those pressures up."

 

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record due to the subject's sensitivity.

 

The finding comes at a time of escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, which President Bush has labeled part of an "axis of evil," along with ousted President Saddam Hussein's Iraq and North Korea.

 

16 spy agencies weigh in

The halt to active weapons development is one of the key judgments of the latest intelligence estimate on Iran's nuclear program. National Intelligence Estimates represent the most authoritative written judgments of all 16 U.S. spy agencies.

 

Despite the suspension of its weapons program, Tehran may ultimately be difficult to dissuade from developing a nuclear bomb because Iran believes such a weapon would give it leverage to achieve its national security and foreign policy goals, the assessment concluded.

 

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell decided last month that the key judgments of NIEs should as a rule not be declassified and released. The intelligence officials said an exception was made in this case because the last assessment of Iran's nuclear program in 2005 has been influential in public debate about U.S. policy toward Iran and needed to be updated to reflect the latest findings.

 

To develop a nuclear weapon Iran needs a warhead design, a certain amount of fissile material, and a delivery vehicle such as a missile. The intelligence agencies now believe Iran halted design work four years ago and as of mid-2007 had not restarted it.

 

But Iran is continuing enrich uranium for its civilian nuclear reactors. That leaves open the possibility the fissile material could be diverted to covert nuclear sites to make enough highly enriched uranium to make a bomb.

 

The amount of fissile material Iran has is closely linked to when it can produce a weapon. Even if the country went all out with present enrichment capability, it is unlikely to have enough until 2010 at the earliest, the officials said. The State Department's Intelligence and Research office believes the earliest likely time it would have enough highly enriched uranium would be 2013. But all agencies concede Iran may not have sufficient enriched uranium until after 2015.

 

Iran would not be capable of technically producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015, the report states. But ultimately it has the technical and industrial capacity to build a bomb, "if it decides to do so," the intelligence agencies found.

 

Estimate was delayed

This national intelligence estimate was originally due in the spring of 2007 but was delayed because the agencies wanted more confidence their findings were accurate, given the problems with a 2002 intelligence estimate of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. They also got a late influx of new data that caused changes in their findings.

 

"There was a very rigorous scrub using all the trade craft available, using the lessons of 2002," a senior official said.

 

At the White House, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the findings confirm that the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains "a serious problem."

 

"The estimate offers grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically without the use of force as the Administration has been trying to do," Hadley said. "And it suggests that the president has the right strategy: intensified international pressure along with a willingness to negotiate a solution that serves Iranian interests, while ensuring that the world will never have to face a nuclear armed Iran."

 

Hadley added: "The bottom line is this: for that strategy to succeed, the international community has to turn up the pressure on Iran with diplomatic isolation, United Nations sanctions, and with other financial pressure and Iran has to decide it wants to negotiate a solution."

 

Link

:mis2

 

But let's attack them anyway, right? :whistle

Link to comment
Share on other sites


:mis2

 

But let's attack them anyway, right? :whistle

*looks at sig*

 

U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.

Chicago Tribune

 

September 25, 2004

 

Sen. Barack Obama said Friday the use of military force should not be taken off the table when dealing with Iran, which he called "a threat to all of us."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/2812...OBAMA03.article

 

March 3, 2007

 

:o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:mis2

 

But let's attack them anyway, right? :whistle

*looks at sig*

 

U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.

Chicago Tribune

 

September 25, 2004

 

Sen. Barack Obama said Friday the use of military force should not be taken off the table when dealing with Iran, which he called "a threat to all of us."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/2812...OBAMA03.article

 

March 3, 2007

 

:o

 

Isn't there a big difference between saying something shouldn't be taken off the table as an option vs. saying we should be preparing for an imminent war with a country?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Except that the Administration has worked for sanctions at every turn and hasn't prepared for war with Iran. At least not beyond the normal preparations made by the Pentagon for every nation we could possibly fight.

So they say....

 

That's not how they have been publicly acting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Except that the Administration has worked for sanctions at every turn and hasn't prepared for war with Iran. At least not beyond the normal preparations made by the Pentagon for every nation we could possibly fight.

So they say....

 

That's not how they have been publicly acting.

 

You and I must not be watching the same people then. When the Administration was threatening Iraq with war, we were moving troops. Every initiative by the US as regards Iran has been non-military, all the speculation about military action comes from pundits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They have never planned on invading Iran. They planned on bombing the hell out of Iran. In any case, we have troops in Iraq, bombers in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, and fighter jets on aircraft carriers. I dont' think we would ever plan on invading Iran. I don't think that outcome would be favorable given the state of our military and the terrain of Iran. (As a side note, Iran is one of the few countries in the world that has never been conquered or fully occupied by another country.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am surprised there aren't many people on here that are absolutely appalled by this. Bush is a warmonger, plain and simple. Even people in his own party agree (see Joe Scarborough, a Republican that I respect a great deal).

I think it is all about how he presents his opinion.

 

The threat of Iran starting up their program is very real (you don't enrich Uranium for the hell of it) and needs to have an eye on it but he is absolutely too forceful in his speech to the public when it doesn't need to be in my view. Thats his biggest weakness. Talking this way really benefits nothing.

 

I'm personally happy as hell Iran stopped 4 years ago and I hope they never go further than they are now but we shouldn't turn a blind eye to them and think everything over there is roses and cupcakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup, I agree with you. Enriching Uranium is also necessary for nuclear power.

 

We shouldn't turn a blind eye, but my concern is that this report came out and he claims he just know learned of its content. In other words, he was acting like he intended to take us to war (and even said WW III) when, in fact, the Iranians had abandoned their nuclear weapons program in 2003. Only one of two conclusions: he's lying or we have a serious intelligence problem (or both, for that matter). Regardless, it's a problem.

 

And, yeah, he was being too forceful. Absolutely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bush knew of this in August, Inexusable

 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush was told in August that Iran's nuclear weapons program "may be suspended," the White House said Wednesday, which seemingly contradicts the account of the meeting given by Bush Tuesday.

 

 

President Bush wasn't given specifics in the August meeting, his press secretary says.

 

Adm. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, told Bush the new information might cause intelligence officials to change their assessment of the Iranian program, but said analysts needed to review the new data before making a final judgment, White House press secretary Dana Perino said late Wednesday.

 

"Director McConnell said that the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment of Iran's covert nuclear program, but the intelligence community was not prepared to draw any conclusions at that point in time, and it wouldn't be right to speculate until they had time to examine and analyze the new data," Perino said in a statement issued by the White House.

 

The new account from Perino seems to contradict the president's version of his August conversation with McConnell and raised new questions about why Bush continued to warn the American public about a threat from Iran two months after being told a new assessment was in the works.

 

But Perino said there was no conflict between her statement and Bush's Tuesday account of the meeting, when he said McConnell "didn't tell me what the information was."

 

"The president wasn't given the specific details" of the revised intelligence estimate, which was released Monday, Perino said. Nor did Bush mislead Americans in October, when he warned of a third world war triggered by Iran's development of nuclear technology, she said.

 

"The president didn't say we're going to cause World War III," Perino said. "He was saying he wanted to avoid World War III."

 

 

In October, the president told reporters, "If you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be preventing [iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." The apparent gap between what U.S. intelligence officials knew in August and Bush's later warnings drew sharp criticism from Sen. Joseph Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Democratic presidential candidate, who called Bush's explanation unbelievable.

 

"I refuse to believe that," Biden said Tuesday. "If that's true, he has the most incompetent staff in modern American history, and he's one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history."

 

But Perino said there was no need for Bush to pull back on any of his public statements after the August meeting, because McConnell stressed to the president that intelligence officials still had to do "due diligence" to make sure the new information was correct.

 

"The director advised that there were many streams of information that had the potential to be in conflict, and it would take more time to vet it all to determine validity, and that's why they were not able to meet the deadline," she said in the prepared statement.

 

Perino said her account came from a conversation that McConnell had Wednesday with another White House official. Earlier, Perino's deputy, Tony Fratto, had refused to provide reporters with further details about the August meeting between Bush and McConnell.

 

The Bush administration has spent years warning that Iran's development of nuclear power plants and enriched uranium masked an effort to produce an atomic bomb. But in a reversal of a 2005 report, the National Intelligence Estimate released Monday concluded that Iran suspended nuclear weapons work in late 2003 and was unlikely to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb until at least 2010.

 

Instead of focusing on that reversal, Bush has continued to stress that the report confirms long-standing suspicions that Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the first place. He said Wednesday that Tehran "has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions," including a weapons program "which the Iranian regime has yet to acknowledge."

 

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the report was "a declaration of victory" for Iran in the face of international pressure to suspend his country's production of nuclear fuel.

 

"Iran is a peaceful nuclear country now, and they have all accepted Iran as a nuclear country and have announced they will stand a nuclear Iran," Ahmadinejad said Wednesday.

 

But Bush said Tuesday the report "doesn't do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world." And Perino called Ahmadinejad a "liar" Wednesday, because the new NIE shows that Tehran did have a clandestine nuclear weapons program at one time.

 

"If anyone wants to call the president a liar, they are misreading the situation for their own political purposes," Perino said. "The liar is Ahmadinejad, and he has a lot of explaining to do."

 

In the August meeting, the White House said, McConnell told Bush "that the intelligence community would not be able to meet a congressionally imposed deadline requiring a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran because new information had been obtained."

 

Perino said this information showed the White House was correct in believing that Iran had a nuclear weapons program, which it halted only because of Bush's policies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still love how so much focus is thrown at Ahmadinejad. Its as though people think it means the same as being President here as over there. Granted, he does himself no favors with the nonsense he spews, but not only would his finger not be the one on the button if they had nukes, he wouldn't even be able to find it. He doesn't have power to do anything in this regard. The guy is a borderline figurehead. But if we are going to fight big wars to make people rich over here and exert more control over the general population then we need new serious threats from powerful enemies to keep the war machine rolling along.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahmedinjad's crazy speeches just work into the White House's favor. Because the general public doesn't know that being the President of Iran is not much beyond a speaking platform, Bush and Co. can point at Mahmoud and say, "See?!? He wants to kill us all! Get those nuclear bunker busters ready! Yee-haw!"

 

It also appears that the intelligence community, which took the majority of blame for the WMD fiasco in Iraq in 2003, made sure that they were more careful with the intelligence they used to create this new NIE this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



×
×
  • Create New...