U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran concludes that Iran’s nuclear weapon effort was halted in 2003
The declassified summary of a new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, released on December 3, 2007, concludes with "high confidence" that Iran's efforts to build a nuclear weapon were suspended in 2003, a reversal of previous intelligence estimates that Iran was actively pursuing such weapons. If Iran were to restart its nuclear weapon program, which the NIE assesses with "moderate confidence" has remained inactive since 2003, then Iran probably could not produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single weapon before 2015. According to the NIE, the timing of Iran's 2003 suspension "indicates that Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach." The NIE is based on information received since 2004, beginning with a set of Iranian drawings and ending with intercepted calls between Iranian military commanders. The NIE was prepared by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. U.S. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell later distanced himself from these findings during testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on February 5, 2008. McConnell said he would change the way Iran's nuclear program was described.
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White House spokesman Stephen Hadley briefs the press on the NIE, 12-3-07.
Europeans See Murkier Case for Sanctions - Elaine Sciolino, the New York Times, 12-4-07.
French Foreign Ministry spokesman says France's position on Iran remains unchanged, 12-4-07.
Anthony Cordesman, CSIS: "Understanding the Key Judgments in the New NIE on Iranian Nuclear Weapons," 12-4-07. (PDF)
Israel Insists That Iran Still Seeks a Bomb - Steven Erlanger and Graham Bowley, the New York Times, 12-5-07.
The Wisconsin Project's Iranwatch.org: "In Iran We Trust?" The New York Times, 12-6-07.
Leonard Spector, CNS: "Iranian Nuclear Program Remains a Major Threat Despite Partial Freeze of Weapons-Related Activities Described in New U.S. National Intelligence Estimate," 12-6-07.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman denies NIE allegation that Iran had a nuclear weapon program until 2003, 12-9-07.
Iranian Resistance Group Says Iran Resumed Weapon Program - Marc Champion and Jay Solomon, the Wall Street Journal, 12-11-07, p. A4.
Officials from Britain, France and Germany discuss fallout from the NIE at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, 12-17-07.
Heritage Foundation summary: "A Comprehensive Guide to What Is Wrong with the NIE," 1-11-08. (PDF)
WMD Insights surveys international reaction to the NIE, 2-08.