Despite the widespread hysteria over the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, American intelligence agencies have still not found evidence that the Iranian regime is actually pursuing atomic weapons, according to recent government assessments cited in news reports and congressional testimony from top U.S. officials.
In fact — as the New York Times reported on its front page over the weekend — the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community since at least 2007 has been that the Islamic Republic stopped seeking to build nuclear bombs almost a decade ago. And that remains the predominant assessment today.
"They are certainly moving on that path, but we don't believe they have actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon," U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in late January.
More recently, Clapper offered the same testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 16. "I think they are keeping themselves in a position to make that decision,” he explained. “But there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time."
Plenty of other senior officials agree. CIA boss David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey have all made similar public assertions recently.
Of course, it is widely known that Iran is enriching uranium. The regime boasts about it. But nuclear missiles and weapons-grade material require enrichment of around 90 percent — a long way away from the less-than-20-percent purity the Iranian government is known to be working on.
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