Iran keeping nuclear weapons option open, says US

March 11th, 2009 - 4:09 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 11 (Xinhua) Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, the US director of national intelligence said Tuesday.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dennis Blair said: “Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them.”

“Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon” because it lacks weapons-grade highly enriched uranium, but it could obtain enough as early as 2010, Blair said.

The US cannot “rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad or will acquire in the future a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon,” the US intelligence chief noted.

Western countries, including the US, claim that Iran intends to secretly develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear plan is only for peaceful purposes, and has continued its uranium enrichment activity despite pressure from western countries and UN sanctions.

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