Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kommersant on the 2007 Iran NIE

The dust has not settled yet on the newest report. Kommersant, a Russian news source reports that the report was the result of allies of George H.W. Bush outmaneuvering US hard-liners on the Iran case.

Kommersant has learnt from its sources in Washington that the US intelligence report which repudiated the White House's position on the Iranian problem was the result of a struggle between factions in the Bush administration. According to our sources, the report was essentially inspired by former President George Bush Sr, who was keen to outplay Vice-President Richard Cheney's faction and protect his son from fresh failures. However, there has been no softening in the US position on the Iranian problem. Yesterday the White House confirmed that a draft document on fresh sanctions against Iran would be tabled at the UN Security Council in the very near future... It's worth noting that the UN Security Council's working schedule for the rest of the year, which was released on Tuesday, includes the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, focusing on the "Iranian nuclear file". However, at the same time there is no specific date in the Security Council's work plan for consideration of the Iranian issue. That means that any member of the UN Security Council could initiate a discussion at any moment, presenting its partners in the Security Council with the necessity of making a final choice.

Tabling a draft means nothing. Getting new sanctions passed will be much more difficult, and the Bush administration when it released this report knew it would make getting new sanctions or tightening sanctions in place more difficult. It is most likely that the Iran issue will go into a holding pattern until the end of the Bush administration.

The US has not officially accepted Iranian enrichment, but giving Iran at least another year to improve its enrichment techniques and leaving negotiations to Bush's successor in practical terms means the US will not be able to prevent Iran from having an enrichment program.

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