WASHINGTON – US intelligence officials said Wednesday that they are confident they can verify Iran’s compliance with the recently completed nuclear deal, despite a track record of misjudgments about weapons of mass destruction.
The main reason, according to a classified joint intelligence assessment presented to Congress, is that the deal requires Iran to provide an unprecedented volume of information about nearly every aspect of its existing nuclear program, which Iran insists is peaceful. That data will make checking on compliance easier, officials said, because it will shrink Iran’s capacity to hide a covert weapons program. “We will have far better insight (into) the industrial aspects of the Iranian nuclear program with this deal than what we have today,” James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told an audience last month at the Aspen Security Forum. Outside experts don’t dispute that. But they question – considering past analytical blind spots in the Middle East – whether American spying will really be able to catch every instance of Iranian cheating.