How Atomic are the Ayattolahs

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Ayattolahs are jumping in their jalabas today and VP Cheney was just administered a dose of WMD shock therapy.

The US intel community's just released National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) took Iran off the sanctions strangulation hook and severely undermined diplomatic efforts to convince the UN Security Council to pass a third Iran sanctions resolution.

The new NIE, issued on Monday, concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and ...."with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007..."

Has the intel community been hoodwinked once again by Iran?

Why did Iran suspend its program in 2003? Actually, that was the year the US invaded Iraq and the Iranians were fearful that an empowered Bush Administration would turn its attention to regime change in Iran after overthrowing Saddam. But after the election of Ahmadenijad, in 2005, full-fledged enrichment resumed.

What does this mean in plain English?

1. Iran is still inexorably engaged in the enrichment of uranium in secret underground installations barred to IAEA inspectors that by the CIA's own estimate, is capable of producing enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon "...sometime by the middle of the next decade."

2. The IAEA's own May, 2007 assessment confirms Iran's enrichment program.

3. The intel community has insufficient hard intelligence to make definitive judgments regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program and has opted to punt.

4. Iran remains a dangerous state sponsor of terror and is determined to undermine US interests throughout the Middle East.

The grave danger from this NIE assessment is that in this supercharged political atmosphere, Democrats may misread the tea leaves and give Iran a pass on its "dual use" potential nuclear program.

The most effective strategy, which actually can yield bipartisan support, is to keep Iran's feet to the fire by maintaining a strong, united Security Council front on economic sanctions given the NIE's own view that Iran is leaving all of its options open, including the development of a nuclear weapon.
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