Response to the Intelligence Estimate on Iran

NPR.org, December 5, 2007 · A National Intelligence Estimate released this week concluded that Iran halted a secret nuclear weapons program four years ago, presenting a strong challenge to the Bush administration's policies. Below, a sampling of opinion on the report and what it means:

 
 

LONDON

Intelligent Intelligence

The Times

Dec. 5, 2007

However awkward the NIE report may be, coming only weeks after Mr Bush's warning that a nuclear-armed Iran could start a third world war, its publication has real merit. First, it demolishes the argument by some Administration opponents that the White House ignores or suppresses intelligence assessments that run contrary to its views. Secondly, it guards against future accusations that policy towards Iran would be based on faulty assessments similar to those which concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, it undermines claims by hardliners in Iran that the West is bent on military action and that the views of pragmatists can be ignored.

TEL AVIV

The Iranian Test of Probability

By Shmuel Rosner

Haaretz

Dec. 5, 2007

'We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so,' stated the gloomy American assessment. The Israeli report that has not been written would have phrased it thus: We assess with high confidence that American intelligence is again finding it difficult to distinguish between the important and the trivial. We assess with high confidence that the Iranians are playing tricks on it. We assess with moderate confidence that in the current circumstances President Bush has lost his ability to act with the necessary determination.

JEDDAH

Bomb That Was Not

Arab News

Dec. 5, 2007

Bush has suffered yet another blow to what little remains of his credibility. Iran can drive the point home by yielding fully to the inspection regime to which it earlier agreed. If it refuses to do so, it may give Bush another albeit weak opportunity for renewed belligerence. Tehran should not, at the same time, forget this president's well-known ability to act with catastrophic consequences on the basis of
lies.

NEW DELHI

Not in a Tehran Hurry
After All

Hindustan Times

Dec. 5, 2007

Although the NIE makes any possible American military strike on Iran's nuke facilities redundant, it is unlikely to ease Washington's jitters over Iran's enrichment activities. There's a clear disconnect between Iran's insistence that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful energy development and its years of clandestine research.

LOS ANGELES

Iran's Nonexistent
Nuclear Program

Los Angeles Times

Dec. 5, 2007

It's a relief that the intelligence community is capable of reversing its 2005 assessment that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, even knowing that the release of the new National Intelligence Estimate ... would all but demolish President Bush's Iran agenda. This means American spooks have learned from their mistakes in Iraq.

AMMAN

Courage to Tell the Truth

The Jordan Times

Dec. 5, 2007

So, manipulating information on Iran to start another war would not have surprised anyone. It would have only added to the bitterness accumulated over the years and stirred even more anti-American feelings. ... But now someone had the courage to say the truth. And that could spare humanity another devastating war. And now, perhaps, negotiations, diplomacy and sanity could lead to a peaceful outcome.

TEHRAN

Clandestine Aims of
NIE Report

By Parviz Esmaeili

Tehran Times

Dec. 6, 2007

It seems that the time to release the report was deliberately chosen to influence public opinion in the United States and other countries in order to validate the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush. Bush's policies have in fact failed, and thus a scenario had to be devised which could turn a loser into a winner. Is it a coincidence that immediately after the report was released, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said that the NIE supported Bush's strategy of piling pressure on Iran?

SYDNEY

Iran Still a Threat

The Australian

Dec. 6, 2007

The big problem with intelligence is that the evidence on which it is based, if there is any, is never disclosed, making it extremely difficult to assess its value. Like a journalist whose sources are all unnamed, it is impossible to know how much weight to give these assessments, but judging by the NIE's track record, the answer would have to be not too
much.

CHICAGO

A Bombshell on Iran

Chicago Tribune

Dec. 4, 2007

Indications that Iran has halted its march toward a bomb are most welcome. If this estimate is right, it shows that Iran is vulnerable to international pressure. That Iran is indeed listening to the world. It is calculating the cost of defiance. That may be the best news of
all.

CAIRO

Is the Bush Administration Abandoning Israel?

By Clare M. Lopez

Middle East Times

Dec. 4, 2007

With the Dec. 3 release of the U.S. Intelligence Community's long-awaited National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran ... Israel now stands very much alone to face the Iranian threat. The U.S. administration, in effect, has just thrown in the towel over Iran's geostrategic ambitions in the Middle East. ...The NIE makes clear that the lame duck George W. Bush team has lost the will to defend either the existence of its ally Israel or even its own national security interests.

DAMASCUS

Making the Case

By N. Roumieh

Syria Times

Dec. 5, 2007

In spite of all assurance by Tehran to the international community that the Iranian nuclear enrichment activities are of peaceful nature ... both the Bush administration and Israel are deeply determined to frame Iran. ... Four years following the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, it has been established beyond any doubt that the Washington-claimed weapons of mass destructions were nothing but a mere justification to launch the war. The UN investigators' reports were manipulated to serve the neoconservative purposes in the same way facts are twisted today to fit the purposes of the Bush administration, which still adopts war not as a means but as an aim in itself.

LONDON

War Postponed

The Guardian

Dec. 5, 2007

The intelligence assessment is tentative about the way forward. ... It is obvious what should happen. This report, along with evidence from US commanders in Iraq that Iran is limiting the flow of weapons and explosives to Shia militias, should pave the way for direct bilateral negotiations between Washington and Tehran about ending the state of belligerency between them.
 
 
 

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