Tuesday, December 04, 2007

About Face

I am too tired an busy to address this issue with the care it deserves. I do have a few questions which I believe need engagement in the wake of the National Intelligence Estimate pronouncemed with
high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. Judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (DOE and the NIC have moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.) Assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007 (NIE p. 9)
1. Why did Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, report just last month that Iran was operating 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges capable of producing fissile material for nuclear weapons?
2. What new intelligence has been obtained to reach these conclusions?
3. Why have others not been privy to this information (such as the Whitehouse, Israel, EU, etc)
4. Why do Israeli officials still maintain their short-term time table, now with a four year gap with the most pessimistic U.S. NIE of 2013?
5. Why has Iran remained so defiant if they are, "vulnerable to influence"? Why have they remained in non-compliance with the IAEA and the UN? It is seems a rather risky rouge to employ for a rational actor.

I am sure there will be many who rejoice at this pronouncement. I am too, but it seems too simple just to make an about face on something this big.


Anonymous said...

i actually thought this post was going to be about faces. or at least about the word "face." alas.

Anonymous said...

The answer to question 1 really explains why the entire NIE is silly and why Israel maintains its timetable.

you see, there are three components to creating a nuclear weapon. First, you need to enrich uranium. Then you need to actually make the bomb. Finally, you need a delivery system. Everyone agrees that they are enriching uranium and working on the delivery system (They keep testing long range missles). The NIE just says that they have stopped #2.

Now, there are many reasons to stop the nuclear weapons program. Either, they have alraddy progressed far enough that they dont have to continue until they have perfected the first and third stage of the development, or the program has moved underground (or to Syria! - remember israel's little voyage into Syrian airspace a few months ago), or they are out of money, etc.