NIE: Iran Not Pursuing Nuclear Weapons
Bush Urged to Embrace Diplomacy
TEHRAN, Dec. 4--Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini reacted on Tuesday to the recent report known as National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) by 16 US intelligence agencies, as well as statements by the US national security advisor, Stephen Hadley.
Hosseini noted that the US intelligence report indicates that Iran’s nuclear program is pursuing peaceful activities and Iran’s performance, as well as reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), shows no deviation from its peaceful path, Mehr News Agency reported.
“The US intelligence report shows that Bush’s statements and what other US officials have said about Iran’s nuclear activities are false and untrustworthy,“ he said.
By comparing the recent and previous US reports, Hosseini pointed out that the US intelligence reports in 2005, which alleged that Iran is building nuclear weapons and the current report rejecting the same shows the contradictory nature of these reports.
He noted that this report can convey a message for the European allies of the US to reconsider their unrealistic policies toward Iran.
Sixteen American intelligence organizations in a 100-page report on Monday emphasized that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.
The US intelligence community, in an unexpected reversal, has said that US charges about Iran’s nuclear goals have been overblown for at least four years.
The National Intelligence Estimate raised fresh questions about the White House’s battered credibility five years after the US drive to invade Iraq based on dire, but false, warnings.
In October, President Bush raised the specters of “World War III“ or a “nuclear holocaust“ if Iran gets an atomic arsenal and wrongly claimed that Tehran had openly ’proclaimed’ its desire for one.
The NIE, the consensus view of all 16 US spy agencies, said it was unclear whether Iran sought nuclear arms and claimed that the country had halted nuclear weapons program in 2003.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the latest US intelligence report backs up the findings of IAEA inspectors over the past few years.
“This validates the repeated assessment of the director general that the inspectors’ findings represented no clear and present danger, and that there was ample time for negotiations,“ a senior official at the International Atomic Energy Agency told Reuters.
“This is in sync with IAEA statements over the past few years that we had no evidence nor had been given any intelligence information of an undeclared nuclear weapons program anywhere.“
IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei reported last month that Iran was making “good progress“ in solving questions about its plans.
The report should bolster those who say President Bush has overstated the threat posed by Iran and weaken the argument for military action.
Rand Beers, who resigned from Bush’s National Security Council just before the Iraq war in 2003, said the report should derail any appetite for war on the administration’s part and should reinvigorate regional diplomacy.
“The new NIE throws cold water on the efforts of those urging military confrontation with Iran,“ Beers said.
Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller, said that the estimate proved that the intelligence community has learned its lessons from the Iraq debacle.
“It has issued judgments that break sharply with its own previous assessments, and they reflect a real difference from the views espoused by top administration officials,“ he said in a statement.
And Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid called on Bush to emulate former Republican President Ronald Reagan’s dialogue with the Soviet Union, pushing for “a surge of diplomacy“ with Tehran.
The NIE report found that “the earliest possible date“ Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon was late 2009, “but that this is very unlikely“.
Asked about the report, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, “It’s natural that we welcome it when countries that in the past had questions and ambiguities about this case...now amend their views realistically.“
“The condition of Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities is becoming clear to the world,“ he said.