The Washington Post reveals another U.S. intelligence analysis of Iran’s nuclear program that demonstrates why the push for imminent deadlines on talks with Iran are unnecessary and counterproductive:

Despite Iran’s progress since 2007 toward producing enriched uranium, the State Department’s intelligence analysts continue to think that Tehran will not be able to produce weapons-grade material before 2013, according to a newly disclosed congressional document.
The updated assessment, by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, emphasizes that the analysis is based on Iran’s technical capability and is not a judgment about “when Iran might make any political decision” to produce highly enriched uranium.
The intelligence community agrees that a political decision has not yet been made. According to the assessment, State Department analysts think such a decision is unlikely to be made “for at least as long as international scrutiny and pressure persist.”
The views on Iran’s nuclear program are contained among answers in a document supplied by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence after a hearing in February. Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act request and published it Thursday on his Web site.

Going forward, NIAC has encouraged the U.S. government to consider a tactical pause before engaging in high-level diplomacy with Iran.  The United States must be sensitive not to negatively influence the situation in Iran and should wait until Iran’s political situation becomes clearer before engaging Iran bilaterally.  With the political paralysis in Tehran, Iran’s government currently is not in a position to deliver on negotiations.  Failed talks would be the worst outcome, limiting America’s options to sanctions or war.

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