Obama ignores the 2007 NIE on Iran and claims Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons… why?


February 12, 2009 by theradicalmormon

What sort of games is Obama trying to play with his assertions that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program?  In January, in an interview with Stephanopolous he said this:

OBAMA: Well, I think that Iran is going to be one of our biggest challenges. And as I said during the campaign, you know, we have a situation in which not only is Iran exporting terrorism through Hamas, through Hezbollah, but they are pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.


The LA Times made it a point today to report on Obama’s assertions and how they are in contrast to the findings of the NIE of 2007:

Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.


You can read the NIE’s report here:


Of course, Obama is perfectly aware of that NIE and used it for his own political purposes back when it first came out:

By reporting that Iran halted its nuclear weapon development program four years ago because of international pressure, the new National Intelligence Estimate makes a compelling case for less saber-rattling and more direct diplomacy. The juxtaposition of this NIE with the president’s suggestion of World War III serves as an important reminder of what we learned with the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: members of Congress must carefully read the intelligence before giving the President any justification to use military force.


Whereas a half year earlier he said this during a debate:

SEN. OBAMA: –I think it would be a profound mistake for us to initiate a war with Iran. But have no doubt, Iran possessing nuclear weapons will be a major threat to us and to the region. I understand that.  But they’re in the process of developing it, and I don’t think that’s disputed by any experts.


Of course it was indeed disputed by the experts at the IAEA for example and later on that year by the collective opinion of 16 of the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Why is Obama doing this?

4 thoughts on “Obama ignores the 2007 NIE on Iran and claims Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons… why?

  1. Grégoire says:

    Why is Obama doing this?

    President Obama (like President Bush before him) is just a figurehead.

    Thanks for the FISSBAN reference.

    One of the problems with these sweeping proposals is that by banning *weapons-grade* nuclear material, you are also banning *fuel-grade* nuclear material. Lighting your home and blowing up a small town proceed along exactly the same lines, with the exception of moderators like graphite and heavy water. The material which makes both possible is inseparable (little pun there, when talking about U235 and Pu239 – you like?).

    The irony is that the US could sign such a treaty, and have enough material in stock to keep running reactors and building ICBMs for many decades. Iran has a point when they talk about how unfair it is for the west to ban things like centrifuges. We don’t need them. The developing world does, and they’re the people who are doomed to keep using fossil fuels as a result.

  2. theradicalmormon says:

    There are problems such as those you noted in paragraph 2 of your above comment. However, the proposal is wildly popular among all states without exception. In the 90s even Bill Clinton supported it. All nations voted to support it in the GA votes it endured with virtual unanimous votes. Surely we can find some form areas to agree upon in the name of the preservation of the species.

  3. Grégoire says:

    Surely we can find some form areas to agree upon in the name of the preservation of the species.

    Admittedly, I’m not that well versed in international affairs; but this is where I think the United Nations is particularly relevant.

    There would have to be some body in place to conduct inspections and at the same time ensure the free flow of legitimate materials to those states – like Iran – which have some reasonable need for energy production.

    As you already noted, it’s particularly difficult to get the established powers to respect the authority of the international community. IIRC, in the Clinton era, France was particularly belligerent, even conducting above-ground testing. I remember they blew up an atoll in the South Pacific in the mid 1990s.

    Anyway, you make a great point when you note that the survival of the planet depends upon us coming to some reasonable agreement about the matter.

  4. theradicalmormon says:

    As a follow-up to this post, I was tickled to see Dennis Blair, the new Director of National Intelligence (Panetta’s boss) announce to the media that US intelligence assesses that Iran has not restarted a nuclear weapons program.


    I love it when someone on the team doesn’t get the memo about the official propaganda sound-bite and spills the beans.

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