The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) downplaying Iran's "nuclear intentions and capabilities" released earlier this month has been met with well-founded skepticism by experts, members of Congress, and foreign intelligence services alike. Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes summed up this state of affairs like so:
The NIE's main point, contained in its first line, famously holds: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." Other analysts – John Bolton, Patrick Clawson, Valerie Lincy and Gary Milhollin, Caroline Glick, Claudia Rossett, Michael Rubin, and Gerald Steinberg – have skillfully dissected and refuted this shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda, so I need not dwell on that here. Further, leading members of Congress are "not convinced" of the NIE's conclusions. French and German leaders snubbed it, as did the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and even the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed doubts. British intelligence believe its American counterparts were hoodwinked, while Israeli intelligence responded with shock and disappointment.
But for those who are inclined to believe the Iranian regime's farcical claims that their nuclear ambitions are based on energy and not weaponry, the NIE is seen as vindication that dialogue and diplomacy, rather than sanctions and threat of force, is the correct approach.
One of these is professor and chair of the department of anthropology at the University of Minnesota and author of The ‘Great Satan' vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs': How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, William O. Beeman. As Campus Watch has noted previously, Beeman has long been a proponent of negotiating with Iran's bellicose leadership and has consistently urged the U.S to be more conciliatory in its approach. He even went so far as to encourage the use of "language" that is "unfailingly polite and humble."
With the release of the NIE, Beeman now not only fancies himself an expert on the art of diplomacy, but he appears to be clairvoyant. Either that or he has an inside line to the Iranian regime and its intelligence services. What else would allow him to declare with utter certainty: "Iran has never had a proven nuclear weapons program. Ever. …the report does not offer a scintilla of evidence that the weapons program was ever an established fact"?
Yet it is Beeman who, in the New American Media article in question, offers not a scintilla of evidence to back up this incredible assertion.
In light of Beeman's predictable and naïve conclusion:
The only positive outcome of this debacle may be that the Bush administration may finally accept that differences with Iran can only be solved by actually talking to the leaders of the Islamic Republic. Restoration of diplomatic relations, even at a low level, will begin the process of reducing the hostile atmosphere that has been created, and will start the long, slow process toward the restoration of productive and peaceful relations.
Campus Watch would really like to know the answer to the question, what does Beeman know that the rest of us don't?