• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obama Administration's Optimistic Slant on Iran Nuclear Intelligence

    Iran continues to make steady progress in stockpiling supplies of increasingly highly enriched uranium far above the quantities that it needs for its civilian nuclear program. Yet the Obama Administration maintains that Tehran has not yet decided whether to build a nuclear weapon.

    This despite the fact that Iran continues to stonewall the investigations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), defy multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, and shrug off a growing list of international sanctions.

    The Obama Administration’s optimistic reading of the state of Iran’s nuclear program is based on a highly controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that assessed that Iran halted its weaponization efforts in 2003. The New York Times today reported that an intelligence crisis erupted in 2010 when the intelligence community wavered in its assessment only to reaffirm the 2007 NIE.

    The U.S. intelligence community—which underestimated the speed of the nuclear breakouts by the Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea—continues to assess that Iran has frozen its nuclear weaponization efforts. Meanwhile, the IAEA, which has long remained cautious on the Iranian nuclear issue, released a report in November that cited evidence that Iran has recently experimented with the components of a nuclear weapon and worked on engineering studies for fitting a nuclear payload into Iran’s Shahab 3 ballistic missile.

    Armed with the optimistic Iran NIE, the Obama Administration has pressed Israel to refrain from launching a preventive attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. This led to considerable tension ahead of the Obama–Netanyahu summit in early March.

    One hopes that, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s spotty record in predicting the timetable of nuclear proliferators, it has kept accurate tabs on Iran’s nuclear program. But according to The New York Times, one former senior intelligence official admitted, “I’d say that I have about 75 percent confidence in the assessment that they [Iranians] haven’t restarted the program.”

    It is little wonder that Israeli leaders remain concerned that the Obama Administration underestimates the urgency of Iran’s potential nuclear threat.

    For more see: The Iran National Intelligence Estimate: A Comprehensive Guide to What Is Wrong with the NIE.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.