The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been a thorn in both the Bush and Obama Administration’s side since its release two years ago. The report noted that Iran hasn’t had any nuclear weapons program at least since 2003.
Not that this has stopped the respective administrations from claiming repeatedly that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but it has certainly made the rhetoric far less credible.
Even today intelligence officials defend the 2007 report, but growing pressure from abroad, notably Israel, is leading to calls for an official repudiation of the report.
There is new evidence, according to officials, but nothing to lead them to abandon their conclusions. Likewise, the IAEA has insisted there is absolutely no evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
This is leading to pressure for the intelligence community to pen a new report, largely for political reasons, to skirt the question of Iran’s nuclear program and to prevent nations from, according to one European official, “hiding behind the NIE” in their opposition to action against Iran.
It remains to be seen how willing the intelligence community is going to be to abandon what it believes to be the truth for the sake of currying political favor with nations looking for excuses to move against Iran. But with both the Bush and Obama Administrations taking an official line directly in conflict with the evidence they have, the pressure to do so must be enormous.