Iran, no nuke capability, what a surprize

US spies give shock verdict on Iran threat

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Monday December 3, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

US intelligence agencies undercut the White House today by disclosing for the first time that Iran has not been pursuing a nuclear weapons development programme for the last four years.The disclosure makes it harder for President George Bush and the vice-president, Dick Cheney, to make a case for a military strike against Iran next year.

It also makes it more difficult to persuade countries such as Russia and China to join the US, Britain and France in imposing a new round of sanctions on Tehran.

A suspected Iranian nuclear research facility

The national security estimate, which pulls together the work of the 16 US intelligence agencies, today published a declassified report revising previous assessments of Iran’s weapons programme.

“Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons programme suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005,” it said.

Bush and Cheney have been claiming that Tehran is bent on achieving a nuclear weapon. The British government, which is planning to discuss the report with its US counterparts over the next few days, has also repeatedly said it suspects Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

The Iranian government insists it is only pursuing a civilian nuclear programme.

The US national security estimate disclosed that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 and had not restarted it.

Two years ago, the national security estimate reached a different conclusion, saying Iran was still developing its nuclear weapons programme.

The White House continued to claim today that Iran remains a threat to the region and the world as a whole.

Continues 

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