Saturday, December 8, 2007

NIE - The final nail in the coffin of the BMD?

On December 3 the new U.S. National Intelligence Report on Iran's nuclear intentions and capabilities was released. It finds with “high confidence” that “in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” Some analysts regard the report's impact to "be more limited than the current tumult indicates" and consider a fundamental policy shift to be unlikely. In contrast to that, other sources conclude that the NIE report will most likely deal a death blow to the Bush administration's already-beleaguered plans to build an anti-ballistic missile base in Poland.
This is rather questionable. Proponents of the U.S. missile defense system argue that the European components are not intended to counter a current Iranian threat, but rather a potential future one. In the NIE the intelligence community also finds that "with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame." The U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley already proved that it is possible to use the NIE's findings in a way that they (allegedly)support the official line. He said that the report "confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons".
The NIE certainly caused a major shake up, but it is not the final nail into the coffin of the BMD.

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