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CIA: Iran inching towards nukes
US intelligence report says Islamic Republic developing capabilities that could be applied to producing arms
Published: 03.31.10, 12:23 / Israel News
Iran is planning to develop nuclear weapons and is intensifying uranium enrichment at its nuclear facilities, the Director of National Intelligence said in its annual report, contradicting the report it published three years ago on the subject.
The Washington Times reported Wednesday that the DNI, which represents 16 US intelligence agencies including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), filed an annual report to Congress stating that Iran is preparing to develop nuclear weapons despite recurring failures in its centrifuges.
"Iran continues to develop a range of nuclear capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so," the report says.
A US official involved in countering proliferation said the Ayatollah regime was "keeping the door open to the possibility of building a nuclear weapon."
He added, "That's in spite of strong international pressure not to do so, and some difficulties they themselves seem to be having with their nuclear program. There are powerful incentives for them to close the door completely, but they are either purposefully ignoring them or are tone deaf. You almost want to shout, 'Tune in Tehran.'"
'Clearly pursuing pressure track'
Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell was quoted by Fox News as saying after the report was published that the US remains concerned about Iran's ambitions.
"They have not done enough to convince any of us that, indeed, their aims are purely peaceful," he said. "That is why this government, after extending an outstretched hand to Iran now for the better part of a year, has now pivoted. And though we haven't shut the door to engagement, we are clearly pursuing the pressure track."
The new intelligence evaluation also delves into Iran-Hezbollah ties. The report says an attack on an Israeli naval vessel during the Second Lebanon War may signal a rising distribution of advanced weapons to terror organizations. It also says weapons trafficking from Iran to Hezbollah through Syria is steadily on the rise.
The report written by the CIA basically toes the line with an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report*** published last month, which warns Iran is on its way to developing a nuclear weapon.
But the new US report contradicts that published in 2007, which said Iran had frozen its nuclear program in 2003.