There’s been some speculation that the third round of Iran sanctions just approved by the Security Council demonstrates that the NIE did no harm and might even have helped efforts to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Tehran. But when I asked a well-informed European official what impact the NIE had on this round of sanctions, he replied, “Hurt it tremendously.” As for whether the sanctions, which do have some bite, are stiffer than expected, he replied that it depends what you expected. Last week’s IAEA report, on the other hand, was “. . .extremely useful, because it came from the IAEA and hit the nail on the head (weapons).”
In other words (ie. mine, now, not his), the aftermath of the NIE was a net loss, but some ground has now been made up due to the entry into the IAEA record of Iranian efforts at weaponization. The ball is now clearly in Tehran’s court.