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Intelligence report - No military nuke program in Iran

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Sasquatch, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    NYTimes

    December 4, 2007
    U.S. Finds Iran Halted Its Nuclear Arms Effort in 2003

    By MARK MAZZETTI
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies released Monday concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting a judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.


    The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to reshape the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.


    The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely to keep its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”


    Iran is continuing to produce enriched uranium, a program that the Tehran government has said is intended for civilian purposes. The new estimate says that the enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade, a timetable essentially unchanged from previous estimates.


    But the new report essentially disavows a judgment that the intelligence agencies issued in 2005, which concluded that Iran had an active secret arms program intended to transform the raw material into a nuclear weapon. The new estimate declares instead with “high confidence” that the military-run program was shut in 2003, and it concludes with “moderate confidence” that the program remains frozen. The report judges that the halt was imposed by Iran “primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.”


    It was not clear what prompted the reversal. Administration officials said the new estimate reflected conclusions that the intelligence agencies had agreed on only in the past several weeks. The report’s agnosticism about Iran’s nuclear intentions represents a very different tone than had been struck by President Bush, and by Vice President Dick Cheney, who warned in a speech in October that if Iran “stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences.”


    The estimate does not say when intelligence agencies learned that the arms program had been halted, but officials said new information obtained from covert sources over the summer had led to a reassessment of the state of Iran’s nuclear program and a decision to delay preparation of the estimate, which had been scheduled to be delivered to Congress in the spring.


    The new report came out just over five years after a 2002 intelligence estimate on Iraq concluded that it possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program. That estimate was instrumental in winning the Congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, but it proved to be deeply flawed, and most of its conclusions turned out to be wrong.


    Intelligence officials said the specter of the 2002 estimate on Iraq hung over their deliberations on Iran even more than it had in 2005, when the lessons from the intelligence failure on Iraq were just beginning to prompt spy agencies to adapt a more rigorous approach to their findings.


    The 2007 report on Iran had been requested by members of Congress, underscoring that any conclusions could affect American policy toward Iran at a delicate time. The new estimate brought American assessments more in line with the judgments of international arms inspectors.


    Last month, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported that Iran was operating 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges capable of producing fissile material for nuclear weapons, but he said inspectors had been unable to determine whether the Iranian program sought only to generate electricity or to also to build weapons.


    Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the Senate majority leader, portrayed the assessment as “directly challenging some of this administration’s alarming rhetoric about the threat posed by Iran” and called for enhanced diplomatic efforts toward Tehran. Democratic presidential candidates mostly echoed Senator Reid, but also emphasized that Iran’s long-term ambitions were still a great concern to the United States.


    In interviews on Monday, some administration officials expressed skepticism about the conclusions reached in the new report, saying they doubted that American intelligence agencies had a firm grasp of the Iranian government’s intentions.


    The administration officials also said the intelligence findings would not lessen the White House’s concern about the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. The fact that Iran continues to refine its abilities to enrich uranium, they said, means that any decision in the future to restart a nuclear weapons program could lead Iran to a bomb in relatively short order. While the new report does not contrast sharply with earlier assessments about Iran’s capabilities, it does make new judgments about the intentions of its government.


    Rather than portraying Iran as a rogue, irrational country determined to join the club of nations that possess a nuclear bomb, the estimate says Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”


    The administration called new attention to the threat posed by Iran this year when Mr. Bush suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III.” Mr. Cheney also said that month that as Iran continued to enrich uranium, “the end of that process will be the development of nuclear weapons.”


    Yet even as Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were making those statements, analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency were well under way toward revising the earlier assessment about Iran’s nuclear arms program.


    Administration officials said the White House had known at the time that the conclusions about Iran were under review but had not been informed until more recently that intelligence agencies had reversed their 2005 conclusion.


    In September, officials said, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, and his deputy, Stephen R. Kappes, met with Iran analysts to take a hard look at past conclusions about Iran’s nuclear program in light of new information obtained since 2005.


    “We felt that we needed to scrub all the assessments and sources to make sure we weren’t misleading ourselves,” said one senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.


    The estimate concludes that if Iran were to restart its arms program, it would still be at least two years before it would have enough highly enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb. But it says it is still “very unlikely” Iran could produce enough of the material by then.


    Instead, the report released on Monday concludes that it is more likely that Iran could have a bomb by the early part to the middle of the next decade. The report states that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research judges that Iran is unlikely to achieve this goal before 2013, “because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.”


    The estimate concludes that it would be difficult to persuade Iran’s leaders to abandon all efforts to get nuclear weapons, given the importance of getting the bomb to Iran’s strategic goals in the Middle East.


    Intelligence officials presented the outlines of the intelligence estimate two weeks ago to several cabinet members, along with Mr. Cheney. During the meeting, officials said, policy makers challenged and debated the conclusions. The final draft of the estimate was presented to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney last Wednesday.


    Officials said they now planned to give extensive briefings to American allies like Israel, Britain and France. Israel intelligence officials for years have put forward more urgent warnings about Iran’s nuclear abilities than their American counterparts, positing that Iran could get a nuclear bomb this decade.


    Intelligence officials had said just weeks ago they were ending the practice of declassifying parts of intelligence estimates, citing concerns that analysts might alter their judgments if they knew the reports would be widely publicized.


    But in a statement on Monday, Donald M. Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence, said that since the new estimate was at odds with the 2005 assessment — and thus at odds with public statements by top officials about Iran — “we felt it was important to release this information to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.”
  2. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    suddenly, i get lost in a sense of deja-vu. : )

    repost, sas. but interesting article. will also be interesting to see if bush listens, or trys his old ways all over again.
  3. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    He, just like everyone else, is saying Iran is sitll dangerous.

    The fiery rhetoric was a good soap opera, but the real dialogue/threats went on without the CNN, Fox sensationalism.

    I'm betting this new 'news' is part of a cencession, that we won't get wind of until it's past history.
  4. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    well, this is *one* report. and iran is also on note for SEVERAL speeches where they say once they have the bomb israel is gone. do we put those back to back with these "but iran doesn't really want a bomb" postings?
  5. vta

    vta The Proletariat

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    A complete 180º? Not a chance. A gradual toning down with the knowledge that it can be ratcheted up again is more like it.

    The concession has probably been made, that America will back off the 'dire need' to mitigate the Iranian threat excuse, in exchange for Iran's cooperation in a few areas. Namely no longer interfering in the Palestinian/Israeli peace talks and help in Iraq/Afghan wars.

    To think Bush wasn't aware of where Iran has been all this time, in regard to nuclear capabilities, is false. It's calculated lies and he and the intelligence community are in it together. Iran has seen first hand the way the administration does things: Iraq. That's a complete loss for Iran, no matter what the popularity contests on this side of the ocean say.
  6. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    well, it is a bit ironic JT used this article to show how bush needs to listen and not be so "gung ho" on the offensive, yet i lay down 3 articles of hillary doing the same or worse - dust in the wind and crickets are all i get.

    i ask a lot of questions the "right" seem to ignore. like GW - if the world has changed so many times on it's own in the past w/o us, why is this time because of us?

    "it just is" seems to be a good place to run to at times.
  7. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    ice, not sure why every thread ends up being about me but alas i can quite easily answer your questions here 100 times over because they are quite simplistic.
    at some point i generally lose interest in repeating myself... i do love me some me so it takes a lot of effort to push me there.

    Thats a 2 part question.
    In part A we will note you expect us to accept the world has changed so many times on it's own in the past. Not because of meteors hitting the Earth but on it's own ...and done so many times. That's probably not close to accurate. While Earth has changed it does not do so rapidly or often. We have seasons. It can be hot, dry, cold, wet et al but overall changes are actually rare and a long time coming.

    For instance the lynch pin of your argument here is that Alaska was once forested and warm. It was 15 million years ago of course but hey let's not consider that. For my purposes I am actually only concerned about what has occurred to the Earth while it is actually hospitable and how to keep it so.

    Part B: The real weakness in your argument is this.
    Every day we age. We can not reverse aging, we can not stop it, we will all die. BUT if you smoke meth every day you will in fact age faster, thus you take natural evolution and by virtue of man made action effect it negatively, you die sooner.
    Thus like with the environment....
    We as humans can in fact effect the environment negatively. Not just because trees hate humans but because humans need clean air and water and uncontaminated food to eat.


    So the bottom line is this.
    We do in fact effect changes.
    It is not even arguable.
    Arguing it makes one question that argument owner's basic common sense.

    The effect we have on the environment only matters to me as it relates to us. I want my kids and grandkids and great grandkids to have plentiful and clean drinking water, healthy foods to eat and air to breathe. People abusing the environment (for me most especially on a corporate level) are in fact harming people. That harm, especially intentionally so and legislated to be legal in many cases, is my concern. You can call it global warming or planet exploitation, or carelessness or whatever label you want to give it.

    Yes there are environmental variations as most scientists and agree and yes as most scientists agree we can make those variations more severe by emitting greenhouse gases that diminish our atmosphere which is responsible for providing us with a hospitable environment.
  8. 03EBZ06

    03EBZ06 Need2Speed

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    If Iran halted it's nuclear program in 2003, why is Iran acting like they have something to hide by not fully cooperating with IAEA to eliminate any suspicion.

    Also, I find it comical that when our intelligence stated that Iran has a nuclear program, many were skeptical of intelligence's reporting but when the same agency states that Iran halted their nuclear program, we are to believe their assessment is correct?

    I don't know if they have nuclear program or not but until we have credible agency conduct a full inspection of their nuclear program, I remain skeptic.
  9. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    maybe you repeat youself but i never see anything *like this* when i ask it.

    you see, this is why i keep asking cause you say some WTH things that all seem to be more designed to support your pre-existing line of thinking rather than taking things at face value and trying to put a bigger picture together.

    and by all means, take examples of earths own evolution and say things like "but i won't consider that". why? WHY will you not consider that you could be wrong on this?

    you don't answer the question at all jt. you say it's a stupid question and those on the other side have no common sense.

    i want clean air to breathe.
    i want kids to grow up in a better environment.

    we're not disparate in our values, jt. we're not. you tend to divide people out to those who agree with you and those who don't. those who don't you then put to an extreme and just say they're lacking in common sense.

    common sense tells me the world can, and has changed, all on it's own in the billions of years it's been alive. those who say it hasn't to me - i don't understand and am trying to, jt.

    but if the world has changed all on it's own, i find it ironic to scream POLAR ICE IS MELTING BAD MAN!!! when in fact it's done it before man even existed.

    as for seasons, you see them in the NE but not much in texas. and i simply can't recall a good old fashioned cancun christmas. so these seasons are not even the same across the board.

    there's also talk of the north and south poles shifting in time. our fault too or just the product of living on a volitale planet with volcanos that also can snuff out tons of life. are they our fault also?

    so again - if you feel you're answering the question, i see you ducking them with "you have no common sense" replies. if this is you and your answer, great. i'll just slap the old "my way or the highway" lable on you like you lob out neocon to those who disagree with you - fitting or not - and be done with it.
  10. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    why did saddam continue to act like he had all these weapons? but i've come to find that a dictator with a history of their use is to be trusted because they're no immediate threat to us.

    as for iran, the extreme muslem mantra is clear. kill the infidel. if they have no power to do it now, they tone it down. like a bass to a jiggy fly, we eat it up and take the bait and call the problem solved. they wait till they have such power and call a quick jihad.

    iran is on record as saying they will blow israel off the map as soon as possible. for some strange reason we tend to think they're democrats who just say "stop it or else!" but won't do anything despite a long and complicated history of them doing *just that* in the name of their religion.

    i take them at their word, period. not the "no we're innocent and harmless" as they say it but their "wipe you off the map" talk. they only tone it down till they can do it. i'd rather pre-empt it than hope they're all talk like we tend to be.
  11. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Why does the USA not allow inspection of its nuclear, chemical and biologoical weapons? Why did the USA refuse to enter into an international NBC agreement?
  12. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Why has/does this administration claim to have specific and irrefutable knowledge of weapons activities in foreign countries when they knew/know intelligence was/is spotty and unreliable? For the same reason: politics, posturing, and leverage.
  13. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    :lmao2::lmao:

    Here we go ...... Iran are really the good guys and we are just trying to pick a fight.
  14. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Ice, in the middle east there is a standard of "public speech, private speech". In Public Speech, you say what is expected, in private speech you say what you really feel. As an example, an American reported how, at a party he was at in Morroco, the MC/musician running the entertainment kept up a diatribe about America and its terrible behavior. Meeting with the fellow later on, the man was overjoyed to find out he was an American and told him how much he liked America, and how his son had been accepted to go to university there and how proud and happy he was for that.

    A lot of grand prouncements are very much what we would recognize as political speech, and mean as much as the political speech we see from most candidates running for office. Gives you a rough idea of their views, but it may reflect the local equivalent of 'polling positions'

    Make considered responses. Don't ignore what they say, but if you take their every pronouncement as gospel, you are pretty dang easy to manipulate, you know.
  15. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmkvLNFQlZ4

    If they wanna bluff ....... shoot them.
  16. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    They are not the good guys, but it does appear we are trying to pick a fight.

    Due to previous examples, I dstrust our present crew to be wise at choosing the right fight, or even the right way to do it if they do decide to clear leather.
  17. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    if you see a bad guy - of which we all agree the iran government can and is in this instance - building a gun and they keep saying 'when done i'm going to kill you' - are you going to wait till they're done to find out?
  18. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Like I said before.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmkvLNFQlZ4
  19. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    No, just that a certain administration should scale back its unfounded bellicose rhetoric lest it undermine what precious little is left of our tattered credibility in the world.
  20. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    some good points - however i just disagree with the fundamental reasoning behind it. if this was *new* (relatively speaking) for the middle east, that would be one thing. but the extreme muslim wants no religion out there but their own. public or private.

    if you *think* what they say in private is warm and loving and "practical" to our own way of thinking, are you not just as easy to manipulate? i can't "assume" they're posturing. wouldn't you also call that dangerous?

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