US nuke report a „victory” for Iran

Analysis

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called a US intelligence report that downgraded Iran as a nuclear threat „a declaration of victory” for the Iranian nuclear program. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier US reports were based on „shoddy intelligence.”

The administration of US President George Bush has for years warend that Iran’s development of nuclear power plants and enriched uranium masked an effort to produce an atomic bomb. Top officials have called the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran „unacceptable.”

But in a report released Monday, US intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had suspended nuclear weapons work in 2003 and was unlikely to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb until at least 2010. The assessment reverses a 2005 National Intelligence Estimate that found the Islamic Republic was determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure.” The revised US conclusions come after months of accusations that the Bush administration was attempting to maneuver the United States into a conflict with Iran, which it also accuses of meddling in the nearly 5-year-old war in Iraq. In October, the United States designated elements of Irans Revolutionary Guard Corps as supporters of terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Iran declared its ability to produce enriched uranium for a civilian energy program in 2006. Enriched uranium at low concentrations can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, but much higher concentrations are needed to produce an atomic bomb. Iran has consistently denied working to produce nuclear weapons, but it has refused the UN Security Councils demand that it halt uranium enrichment work. The United States and its European allies are pushing for tighter sanctions against Tehran as a result of that continued refusal, and Bush said on Tuesday that Mondays report makes it clear that the strategy we have used in the past is effective. (aljazeera)

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