Iranian dissidents: Iran did stop its weapons program in 2003 — and restarted it in 2004

posted at 9:37 am on December 11, 2007 by Allahpundit

More NIE dissent. Is there anyone out there in Iran’s orbit who believes, with high confidence, that they really have suspended their weapons program? The crack U.S. intel community seems to be out on a limb with this one.

Well, actually, that’s not true. Iran’s stooge thinks we’re right on the money, doesn’t he?

According to the [National Council of Resistance of Iran], Iran’s Supreme National Security Council decided to shut down its most important center for nuclear-weapons research in eastern Tehran, called Lavisan-Shian, in August 2003.

The NCRI, which claims to have intelligence sources inside Iran, said Lavisan was broken into 11 fields of research, including development of a nuclear trigger and of the technology to shape weapons-grade uranium into a warhead. But at the same meeting, the council decided to disperse pieces of the research to a number of locations around Iran, according to the NCRI. By the time international nuclear inspectors were allowed to get access to the Lavisan site, the buildings allegedly devoted to nuclear research had been torn down and the ground bulldozed…

Equipment was relocated first from Lavisan-Shian to another military compound in Tehran’s Lavisan district, the Center for Readiness and Advanced Technology, Mr. Mohaddessin said. Two devices designed to measure radiation levels were moved to Malek-Ashtar University in Isfahan and to a defense ministry hospital in Tehran, he said. Other equipment was sent to other locations the NCRI hasn’t been able to identify, he said.

“Their strategy was that if the IAEA found any one piece of this research program, it would be possible to justify it as civilian. But so long as it was all together, they wouldn’t be able to,” Mr. Mohaddessin said.

Strike one: The NCRI is the political wing of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq, listed among the State Department’s list of official terrorist groups since 1997 although the MEK seems to have cleaned up its act a bit lately. Strike two: NCRI’s previous Iranian intel scoops have a mixed record of accuracy. Strike three: Their one blockbuster intel coup, the revelation of the Natanz enrichment facility in 2002, might not have been their scoop at all but may in fact have originated with … the crack U.S. intel community. Big grain of salt, then. On the other hand, NCRI’s claim about a temporary suspension in 2003 followed by the program being quietly restarted at a later date does jibe with Ehud Barak’s own estimates. Which, of course, to some will be all the more reason to doubt it.

Incidentally, much of the new NIE data was gathered by intel agencies at the Pentagon, where the leadership is much relieved at the military option now effectively being off the table. Quote: “Pentagon officials made it clear that this was not a political move by the brass — that the military’s lack of desire for another conflict and the conclusions of the new NIE are coincidental. They stress that the military focuses on ‘intentions, not capabilities’ when assessing threats, and that the final unclassified portion of the NIE warns that the intelligence community believes ‘with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.’”

Update: Ahmadinejad hints that in light of the U.S. climbdown, he might just be open to a grand bargain if we “make a serious change in position in the region,” i.e. scale back support for Israel and withdraw from Iraq.

Update: They’ve got 3,000 centrifuges now, which, operating at peak efficiency, can produce enough highly-enriched uranium to make one bomb in a year. Ahmadinejad’s goal? 50,000 centrifuges within five years.


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I rarely hear Rush, but I had to run around a bit and get some snow tires to deal with this global warming yesterday, so I heard a bit of the show and was pleasantly surprised that it’s not just me wondering if there is some sort of trickery going on with this NIE. After listening to quotes from people involved in the report stating much more matter of factly that Iran had an active nuke program just months earlier, it makes it tough to trust it (especially given that even the Europeans seem pissed that we’re saying there is no program). Was it people trying to get their political careers started? Folks with an axe to grind? Or is this some political genius move (perhaps Rove still working behind the scenes) that we just haven’t fully understood yet?

I don’t know if it’s any of those things, but something is definitely fishy, and I can’t say I haven’t wondered a bit about what could really be behind the NIE.

RightWinged on December 11, 2007 at 9:43 AM

o/t, just had to mention that it’s hilarious to see a Pizza Hut ad in the sidebar… I know you guys don’t choose the ads (though I’m not sure if they’re contextually based like Adsense?), but I just cracked up while scrolling the page and seeing some fancy animated pizza ad.

RightWinged on December 11, 2007 at 9:44 AM

if we “make a serious change in position in the
region,”

Bent over?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 11, 2007 at 9:49 AM

Just gotta quote Victor Davis Hanson…

“Remember that the fanatic waving his age-old sword in the Khartoum street over a teddy bear shows the same dangerous derangement as the nut in Tehran who may one day want hid hand on the bomb.”

and we think they’ve changed their minds??

Ernest on December 11, 2007 at 9:55 AM


I rarely hear Rush, but I had to run around a bit and get some snow tires to deal with this global warming yesterday, so I heard a bit of the show and was pleasantly surprised that it’s not just me wondering if there is some sort of trickery going on with this NIE. After listening to quotes from people involved in the report stating much more matter of factly that Iran had an active nuke program just months earlier, it makes it tough to trust it (especially given that even the Europeans seem pissed that we’re saying there is no program). Was it people trying to get their political careers started? Folks with an axe to grind? Or is this some political genius move (perhaps Rove still working behind the scenes) that we just haven’t fully understood yet?

I don’t know if it’s any of those things, but something is definitely fishy, and I can’t say I haven’t wondered a bit about what could really be behind the NIE.

RightWinged on December 11, 2007 at 9:43 AM

What’s behind the NIE report?

CORRUPT ANTI-AMERICAN DEMOCRAT OPERATIVES. THE DEMOCRATS HAVE RESORTED TO LYING, MANIPULATING, TREASON… ANYTHING TO GET THEIR WAY. I’M SURPRISED YOU HADN’T NOTICED.

Griz on December 11, 2007 at 10:06 AM

I think, CIA should send an “Ambassador” to Iran, so’s he can come back and tell us, what he didn’t find.

That would settle the question, once and for all.

[ yes...those are sneer quotes ]

franksalterego on December 11, 2007 at 10:12 AM

RightWinged on December 11, 2007 at 9:43 AM

Rush’s particular references and choice of words made me think that in this case, he was echoing the stuff we’ve already seen here, in the “gambit” stories. Didn’t hear anything new.

JiangxiDad on December 11, 2007 at 10:13 AM

I think, CIA should send an “Ambassador” to Iran,

Joe Wilson free?

JiangxiDad on December 11, 2007 at 10:14 AM

Joe Wilson free?

No…I think his wife works for the CIA.

It would have the “appearance” of nepotism…Not to mention, the possibility of her Sooper-Dooper “Spy” status being compromised.

franksalterego on December 11, 2007 at 10:25 AM

They stress that the military focuses on ‘intentions, not capabilities’ when assessing threats, and that the final unclassified portion of the NIE warns that the intelligence community believes ‘with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.’”

The emphasis being that threats will be addressed before capability has been established. The Bush Doctrine is still in effect.

captivated_dem on December 11, 2007 at 10:28 AM

Is there anyone out there in Iran’s orbit who believes, with high confidence, that they really have suspended their weapons program?

Whether or not Iran really suspended their weapons program is now immaterial. As long as the new NIE says that Iran doesn’t have a program, Iran is officially not a problem. We can’t even send them a strongly-worded letter as long as the official position of the U.S. is that Iran is not a threat.

The CIA has f***ed us good. In their excitement to embarass Bush and force his hand, they’ve put Iran in the driver’s seat. There’s nothing to stop Iran from doing whatever the bloody hell it wants now that the official position of the U.S. is that they have no weapons program. But hey, at least Bushitler can’t bomb Iran now, because that’s the most important thing…

Hitch is right, abolish the CIA.

Enrique on December 11, 2007 at 10:30 AM

P’haps, president Chimpy (as he’s known in some circles) could send a “Tough, Smart Negotiator” like Madeline Albright, to trade nuclear technology for a “promise” from Iran, to quit their weapons program.

That always works.

franksalterego on December 11, 2007 at 10:36 AM

Does this mean we’re not allies, again?

Hening on December 11, 2007 at 10:37 AM

I don’t know if it’s any of those things, but something is definitely fishy, and I can’t say I haven’t wondered a bit about what could really be behind the NIE.

No one is so stupid to believe that Iran would stop their development of nuclear weapons. No one. Not when Israel has them.

Pray that this recent NIE is a deliberate misdirection to confuse and confound our enemies. Pray that we will use this report as the basis for reasonable deniability of involvement when a remote Irian faciltiy blows up in mid 2008.

If it’s not and it’s based on nothing more than partisian politics, then, coupled with all the rest the dems have to done in dirrect support of those that would kill us, we are witnesses to the beginning of the end for this country.

I truly fear for our children and our children’s children

Rod on December 11, 2007 at 10:38 AM

I truly fear for our children and our children’s children

It’s like watching a Seahawks game where, in the closing minutes, they’re ahead, but forget all about ball-control, and do everything in their power to blow it…You can see the inevitable outcome before it happens.

franksalterego on December 11, 2007 at 10:47 AM

The emphasis being that threats will be addressed before capability has been established. The Bush Doctrine is still in effect.

To clarify my previous comment, The Bush Doctrine(pre-emption) is still in effect; as quoted by Pentagon officials. This NIE report hasn’t changed that executive policy, which I happen to agree with.

captivated_dem on December 11, 2007 at 10:48 AM

I’ve yet to hear anybody provide a single reason that Iran would be motivated to not develop a nuclear capability. It’s objectively in their strategic interests (and objectively against the West’s), and I can’t think of any lasting external pressures present in 2003 the easing of which would have offset that value.

It does make sense that the invasion of Iraq might have scared them enough that they’d have taken time to re-shuffle their deck, as it were. If it were enough to make them stop altogether, however, it seems to me it would have been most in their interest to be completely open with international nuclear watchdogs about it, which they clearly haven’t been. So they either have something to hide, or at least want the world to believe they have something to hide.

I suppose that disposition would make sense if they’re pulling a Saddam-like bluff, wanting the world to believe they’re a nuclear/WMD threat without exerting the effort of actually having the weapons. But, again, I would think that 2003 should have taught them that such bluffs can be called. So they’re either miscalculating extremely badly, or they are in fact pursuing the weapons.

Blacklake on December 11, 2007 at 11:37 AM