US agencies see no move by Iran for nuclear bomb

February 26th, 2012 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) While the UN nuclear watchdog has reported that Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment programme, the US intelligence analysts believe there is no hard evidence of the Islamic Republic deciding to build a nuclear bomb.

As per current and former American officials, recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme years earlier, said the New York Times.

Officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.

At the centre of the debate is the question of the ultimate ambitions of the Iranian leaders.

There is no dispute among American, Israeli and European intelligence officials over Iran enriching nuclear fuel and developing some necessary infrastructure to become a nuclear power.

But according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies, Iran is yet to decide whether to resume a parallel programme to design a nuclear warhead — a programme they believe was essentially halted in 2003 which would be necessary for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

In his testimony to the US Senate Jan 31, James Clapper, head of US national intelligence, stated explicitly that American officials believe Iran is preserving its options for a nuclear weapon. But there was no evidence that it had made a decision to build a weapon, Xinhua reported.

David Petraeus, the CIA director, agreed to this assessment at the same hearing.

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