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Iran Nuclear Weapons Program Halted in 2003

By Samantha A. Torrence     Dec 4, 2007 in World
The latest National Intelligence Estimate released new information on the Nuclear Program in Iran that contradicts its findings in the 2005 NIE. Iran stopped its Nuclear Weapons Program in 2003.
The newly released National Intelligence Estimate key notes has caused a stir in the world media with the announcement that "We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons. We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon."
The previous NIE report issued in 2005 contradicts this finding stating that the National Intelligence Agency "assess with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure, but
we do not assess that Iran is immovable."
The report suggest that international pressure as the major factor in Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.
Despite the reports findings the Whitehouse is not convinced that the Iranian government headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ceased its interest in nuclear weapon technology. Although President Bush has commented that the situation opens up opportunity for the international community to continue pressure Tehran on nuclear ambitions.
"We know that they're still trying to learn how to enrich uranium. We know that enriching uranium is an important step in a country whose desire it was to develop a weapon. We know they had a program. We know the program was halted," Bush said at a news conference at the White House briefing room.
The continued development of ballistic missiles and uranium enrichment are key factors in developing long range nuclear weapons.
"If a state is looking to become a nuclear-weaponed state, it needs three things. It needs weapons-grade nuclear material. It needs the technical know-how to fashion this nuclear material into a weapon. And it needs a means to deliver the weapon on a target, like a ballistic missile. The hardest step in today's world is acquiring weapons-grade nuclear material," said the President's National Security Advisor Steve Hadley in a press conference yesterday.
Continued suspicions are fueled by the August 2002 discovery of a secret Uranium Enrichment facility in Natal. The lack of a nuclear reactor and the ballistic missile program sent warning signals that Iran was possibly violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty it signed in 1968.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei hopes the latest NIE will ease tensions over the crisis and urges all involved parties to enter into negotiations.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to the findings in a press conference on December 3. “There is no use raising the issue of Iran’s nuclear file. We do not feel under threat. We are looking forward to the future and the past will never repeat itself. The reports of the International Atomic Agency made it clear that Iran is complying with the requirements of the body and hence the UN Security Council resolutions about the nuclear file were based on “misinformation”, he said.
More about Iran, Nuclear, Program