IAEA, NIE And The MMFNI
The NIE, National Intelligence Estimate, gave the MMFNI a bunch of breathing room when it came out last December, claiming that to the best of the combined knowledge of the U.S. intelligence community, Iran was not currently pursuing a nuclear weapon. Or at least we were "moderately confident" that was the case.
Israel, for whom mere "moderate confidence" could spell death, was not so sure.
Now it turns out that the IAEA, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, isn't so sure either. Its report, released yesterday goes way beyond "moderate confidence" to say Iran's nuclear weapons program is "a matter of serious concern" because of:
- Willful lack of cooperation
- 18 documents that indicate the Iranians are working on explosives, uranium processing and warhead design — activities the NYT bravely reports "could be associated with constructing nuclear weapons." Duh.
- Failure to report R&D activities on faster, more productive centrifuges
- Iranian denial of access to sites where centrifuge components were being manufactured and where research of uranium enrichment was being conducted
“The Iranians are certainly being confronted with some pretty strong evidence of a nuclear weapons program, and they are being petulant and defensive,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who now runs the Institute for Science and International Security. “The report lays out what the agency knows, and it is very damning. I’ve never seen it laid out quite like this.”To which
... that the report vindicated Iran’s nuclear activities. It “is another document that shows Iran’s entire nuclear activities are peaceful,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.Anyone who still believes the NIE presented an honest assessment of Iran's nuke-quest has two choices when confronting the IAEA's actions: They can admit they were wrong, and that at a minimum we can be "moderately confident" that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, or they can align themselves with the MMFNI.