|Quoting Baroque (Reply 129):|
You seem to be missing the point that they actually have a reason to want to diversify their sources of power.
No I am not missing the point. What you seem to be missing is the side reason for wanting nuclear power. Even taking away 30 billion barrels leaves them with a tremendous amount of oil. Compare that to insisting that they be allowed to have their uranium enrichment plant at Natanz even though all
their enriched uranium needs are met under contract
by Russia. Just because a program is called civilian
by the government does not mean that the program in question does not have military
applications and that is part of the problem with this NIE. It very narrowly discriminates between what is wholly civilian and what could
be military. Whats more troubling is that the if you look at the history of the atomic bomb here in the U.S. the theoretical and engineering side was always way out front of the weapons grade material side. We only had three bombs available in 1945 not because we had trouble building the actual weapons, but because weapons grade material
was not available in mass quantities. The same is true in Iran today. But as long as they are enriching their own uranium, that will not always be the case. So although they have stopped the research and development of an atomic bomb, as the President and the SecDef have said, "they can restart it at any time". How do you know that once they have enough enriched uranium to make more than one bomb, and have developed their Shahab missiles accuracy that they won't do just that? Left out of the press for some strange reason, that possibility also shares the top key finding in the NIE.
A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons
program1; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is
keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.
We judge with high confidence
that the halt, and Tehran's announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium
enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing
international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously
undeclared nuclear work.
I also find it rather strange that the authors have a high confidence that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 yet a few judgements down:
We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
So they are telling us they are "highly confident" that Iran stopped its program in 2003 yet they are only "moderately confident" about whether Iran had restarted the program as of mid 2007 and they have no idea of whether or not Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons or not. That worries me more than why they stopped in 2003 simply because the authors are more unsure of the situation now than they were back then.
|Quoting Baroque (Reply 129):|
I don't know what caused them to stop, but they did say they had stopped.
Yes, and for once Iran whole heartedly agrees
with an intelligence estimate by the U.S. while many of our allies don't. Go figure. The fact that they have stopped overtly using military means to achieve an end does not in any way mean that they have not adopted another way to achieve the same end. In essence that is all that this current NIE says, that Iran has stopped their military atomic arms work. There is no way that anyone can legitimately say they have stopped all
research and development as long as they are enriching uranium. So the question remains, what are their intentions
? I'm not alone in asking that question either, or in questioning the summation of the latest NIE.