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Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Intel 180? Gates says Iran may have 'already' restarted its nuke program
Intel 180? Gates says Iran may have 'already' restarted its nuke program PDF Print E-mail
Written by World Tribune   
Monday, 10 December 2007

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an address to the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain
Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an address to the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, less than a week after the release of a controversial intelligence assessment, has suggested that Iran has renewed its nuclear weapons program. 

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, less than a week after the release of a controversial intelligence assessment, has suggested that Iran has renewed its nuclear weapons program.
 
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Iran may have resumed its nuclear weapons program. Gates cited the National Intelligence Estimate that Teheran, said to have halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, was capable of renewing the project at any time. "The estimate is explicit that Iran is keeping its options open and could restart its nuclear weapons program at any time — I would add, if it has not done so already," Gates said on Dec. 8.

In an address to the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, Gates played down NIE's assertion that Iran has not renewed its nuclear weapons program, Middle East Newsline reported. Speaking to delegates from 23 nations to the strategic conference, the defense secretary warned against "cherry-picking" the findings of the NIE.

"The report expresses with greater confidence than ever that Iran did have a nuclear weapons program — developed secretly, kept hidden for years, and in violation of its international obligations," Gates said. "It reports that they do continue their nuclear enrichment program, an essential long-lead-time component of any nuclear weapons program. It states that they do have the mechanisms still in place to restart their program."

It was the first time a senior administration official differed from the NIE's conclusion. Gates, who said the U.S. focus toward Iran was "100 percent diplomatic and economic," did not explain how Teheran might have renewed its nuclear weapons program.

Officials have stressed that the unclassified version of NIE did not contain the classified data that demonstrated Iran's nuclear weapons capability. NIE said it was "highly confident" that Iran has not restored its weapons program as of October 2007.

Gates said he was "not confident" that an Iranian-U.S. dialogue would help moderate Teheran's policies. He said Iran must first take measures to assuage its Gulf Arab neighbors as well as Washington.

"Everywhere you turn, it is the policy of Iran to foment instability and chaos, no matter the strategic value or the cost in the blood of innocents," Gates said.


World Tribune, Monday, December 10, 2007

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2007/me_terror_12_18.asp



 
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