Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks at a ceremony in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran, Monday April, 9, 2007. Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003 under international pressure but is continuing to enrich uranium, which means it may still be able to develop a weapon between 2010 and 2015, senior intelligence officials said Monday, Dec. 3, 2007.
Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003 under international pressure, but is continuing to enrich uranium and could be capable of developing a weapon as early as late 2009, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded.
The nuclear clock is set back from the precipice of WAR. But, Iran continues to enrich uranium with 3,000 centrifuges spinning as we wait for the IAEA and United Nations to take action.
But, what has changed since the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE).
“Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005,” states the unclassified summary of the secret report. “Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.”
Officials said the findings show diplomacy is effective in containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“This is good news in that the U.S. policy coupled with the policies and actions of those who have been our partners appear to have had some success. Iran seems to have been pressured,” one official said. “Given that good news we don’t want to relax. We want to keep those pressures up.”
The key judgments conclude with “high confidence” that:
- Until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons
- In fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program
- The halt lasted at least several years
- Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do reverse course
- The halt, and Tehran’s announcement that it has suspended its declared uranium enrichment program and signed additional safeguards relating to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are “primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work”
- Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.
The United States must continue the pressure on Iran – economic and political. This is “good news” but America must be positive that Iran has not resumed a nuclear weapon program.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) announces economic sanctions on Iran to pressure it to halt its nuclear program as U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson stands next to her at the State Department in Washington October 25, 2007.
Britain says pressure on Iran justified.
“The report’s conclusions justify the action already taken by the international community to get to the bottom of Iran’s nuclear program and to increase pressure on the regime to stop its enrichment and reprocessing activities,” a British Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told AFP.
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