cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16

9.17.2009

evidence, please

By Daniel Luban

Following up on Jim’s post about the new Robb/Coats/Wald op-ed pushing preparations for a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, one line from the piece jumped out at me: “At its current pace, Iran’s nuclear program will be able to manufacture enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 2010.”

This is a critical claim for the authors’ argument. Although they gloss over the fact that Iran would not be able to immediately produce a usable bomb even after acquiring enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) — for that, it would need a weapons program, and there is no evidence that Iran has had one since 2003 — the 2010 HEU estimate naturally supports their contention that there is no time to waste in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. Yet the authors do not cite any source or evidence for this estimate.

Which may not be surprising, since it directly contradicts the U.S. government’s latest intelligence on the subject. As I reported last month, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair told Congress in February that Iran is unlikely to be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until at least 2013 — a full three years after Robb et al’s estimate. Citing the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), Blair also noted that there is “no evidence” that Iran has even made a decision to produce weapons-grade uranium in the first place.

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