New EU reports question the NIE
By Lucas Roebuck
The American media gave little play to an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued last week that blasted Iran for dodging questions about documents from 2005 that point to its nuclear weapon ambitions.
Reuters had this Feb. 23 report: “ In unusually strong wording, the IAEA said in a report Iran had not so far explained documentation pointing to undeclared efforts to ‘ weaponise’ nuclear materials by linking uranium processing with explosives and designing of a missile warhead. Publishing details of the intelligence, the IAEA described tests on a 400-meter (1, 300-foot ) firing shaft seen as ‘ relevant’ to atomic arms research and a schematic layout of a missile cone ‘ quite likely to be able to accommodate a nuclear device. ’ ”
Meanwhile, the spooks working for the European Union claim that Iran could have enough uranium for a bomb by the end of this year, according to a report from Germany’s Spiegel.
Writes Markus Becker in Spiegel, “ As part of a project to improve control of nuclear materials, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC ) in Ispra, Italy set up a detailed simulation of the centrifuges currently used by Iran in the Natanz nuclear facility to enrich uranium. The results look nothing like those reached by the U. S. intelligence community. ”
The U. S. results Becker is talking about is what is found in the executive summary of the last National Intelligence Estimate.
Nuking the credibility of the National Intelligence Estimate released last year that said Iran had suspended its nuclear bomb making program in 2003 is easy enough. Iran used it as a propaganda piece, touting it as proof they were now on the up and up, even though — if the NIE is true — Iran said it never had a program.
So did Iran really quit its nuke program in 2003 that it lied about having in the first place (and is still lying about today )? And why did it take four years for the intelligence community to make this conclusion ? Could it be that after the embarrassing failure on the WMD / Iraq fiasco, someone in the CIA wanted to make neo-con policy makers in the Bush administration look bad ? The Wall Street Journal made the case for political motivations of the NIE just after it was released.
More importantly, even if Iran has suspended its quest to build the apparatus for creating a nuclear explosion, it certainly hasn’t suspended its operations to make sufficient quantities of radioactive materials for weaponization. Getting the fuel to make the bomb is the hard part. Once you have the fuel, the technology to make an actual explosion isn’t so hard to create.
From these two non-American reports on Iran’s nuclear program we can draw two conclusions.
First, the American intelligence bureaucracy needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up. The intelligence community should be like the military — let the politicians decide policy and don’t interfere in politics. In the words of Tennyson, “ There’s not to reason why, there’s but to do — and die. ” The intelligence community is too vested in politics and in trying to shape policy. A representative democracy should be left to elected officials. The failures on Iraq WMDs and now on Iranian nuclear ambition show our intelligence assets are dysfunctional.
Second, the Iranian leadership excels at double-speak and deception. Why do we think they are interested in some sort of “ peaceful compromise ? ” The anti-Semitic rulers of Iran have nothing to gain from “ talking” with America and her allies except to buy them time. America cannot deliver to Iran’s extremist leaders what they want: the destruction of Israel and, ultimately, worldwide implementation of Sharia law.
Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, would be much more helpful in fulfilling their ambition.
Lucas Roebuck is a former managing editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times and the Siloam Springs Herald-Leader.