World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Spooks: Iran Halted Nuke Weapons Program In 2003

By Gary Thomas

US Intelligence Says Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program in 2003

A new U.S. intelligence estimate says it is not clear that Iran is determined to produce nuclear weapons. The estimate says Iran stopped nuclear weapons development four years ago, but adds that Tehran is keeping its options open. VOA Correspondent Gary Thomas reports from Washington.

A new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear capabilities and intentions says international pressure and scrutiny caused Iran to stop work on nuclear weapons in late 2003, and the work had not resumed as of mid-2007.

But the report adds that Iran appears to be keeping open the option of building a nuclear weapon. It says Iran continues to produce enriched uranium. The estimate says, Iran is not likely to have enough weapons-grade highly enriched uranium for a bomb until late 2009 at the earliest.

The key findings of the estimate, which represent the highest collective judgments of the U.S. intelligence community, were released Monday.

The new assessment differs sharply in some respects with a 2005 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. In 2005 the intelligence agencies said Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons. The new estimate says it now appears Iran is less determined to produce nuclear weapons than previously believed.

Nevertheless, it adds, it would be difficult to persuade Iran's leadership to give up any ambitions to be a nuclear power.

In a written statement, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says the new estimate has some positive news. He said it confirms the Bush administration strategy of keeping up international diplomatic pressure on Iran.

Hadley says it underscores that Iran's nuclear ambitions remain a very serious problem.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had asked the White House to produce the latest estimate, says it shows the need for engaging Iran on the nuclear issue.

"We should be having a surge of diplomacy with Iran," he said. "And based upon this [estimate], I think it would be a pretty good idea."

The United States has been trying to forge a consensus among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council for new sanctions on Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions.

Iran has insisted that it only seeks to develop nuclear energy for peaceful, non-military use.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>