Septgember 13, 2009
US spy agencies have recently concluded that Iran has deliberately not taken the critical steps to make a bomb, despite having produced enough nuclear fuel.
American intelligence agencies reached the conclusion in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) update they presented to US President Barack Obama in recent months, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The original 140-page NIE report, which was given to former president George W. Bush in 2007, had clarified that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon program at the time.
The new intelligence information collected by the Obama administration once again confirmed the original reports’ findings by asserting that there was no convincing evidence to prove Iran’s nuclear work was in any way military.
[efoods]Despite unwavering efforts by some US and Israeli officials to prove that Iran is seeking an atomic weapon, Iran has constantly maintained that its nuclear activities are for the peaceful purpose of ensuring the future of its electric power industry.
In the first specific reference to the new NIE findings, US ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Glyn Davies ignored the positive aspects of the report and declared on Wednesday that Iran now had what he called a ‘possible breakout capacity’ if it decided to make a bomb.
Davies did not say what he meant by ‘breakout capacity’, but the official US position is that it would take Iran several years to make the uranium it has enriched – - for nuclear fuel at low levels – - usable for weapons.
The American estimate is that if Iran wants to produce a nuclear weapon, it would be no sooner than sometime between 2010 and 2015.
Israel, however, regularly takes contradictory stances on the issue, sometimes describing the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon an imminent threat and at other times referring to it as a process that could take several years.
Some US administration officials believe Israel’s claims that Iran could quickly build a bomb are attempts to put pressure on the Obama administration.
Others, however, say that the allegations are a scheme to threaten Iran into surrendering to Western demands and giving up its internationally-bestowed right to produce nuclear fuel for power generation.
According to the New York Times, Israeli officials pressed Washington for intelligence and other help to launch a military attack against Iran at a meeting with a senior Obama administration official several months ago.
This is while Meir Dagan, the director of Israel’s main spy agency, Mossad, told the Israeli parliament in June that Iran could have a bomb no sooner than 2014.