Summary: What do we know about Iran’s program to build atomic weapons? For decades Americans have been subjected to saturation bombing by misinformation and outright lies about Iran. The information from our intelligence agencies has painted a more accurate picture, if we choose to see it. Sixth in a series; at the end are links to the other chapters.
The situation is clear, if we would only make the effort to see what our national eyes tells us.
- The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran
- The new National Intelligence Estimate about Iran
- Another perspective on the new NIE
- Other posts in this series
- Other articles and resources about Iran’s nuclear program
- Other posts about Iran and US intelligence resources
(1) The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran
National Intelligence Estimate Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, November 2007 — Despite the hysterical criticism following its release, so far its conclusions have proven correct.
(A) We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; 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.
(B) We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad — or will acquire in the future — a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon. Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously — which we judge with high confidence it has not yet done.
(C) We assess centrifuge enrichment is how Iran probably could first produce enough fissile material for a weapon, if it decides to do so. Iran resumed its declared centrifuge enrichment activities in January 2006, despite the continued halt in the nuclear weapons program. Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz, but we judge with moderate confidence it still faces significant technical problems operating them.
(D) Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example, Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications — some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.