The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday that Iran is not close to abandoning its nuclear program, but is also unlikely to intentionally provoke conflict.
According to Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the agency, Iran has the “technical, scientific and industrial capability to eventually produce nuclear weapons.” The ballistic missiles it is currently developing could reach distances across the region and as far as Central Europe, said Burgess. He added that Iran could seek to engage terrorist proxies worldwide.
Burgess spoke at a Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee dedicated to the Worldwide Threats to the National Security of the United States.
Burgess said that despite growing international pressure on Iran, it is “not close” to agreeing to abandon its nuclear program, but added that “the agency assesses Iran as unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict.”
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said the U.S. was confident that Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, should its leaders – particularly the Supreme Leader – choose to do so. Iran’s technical advances, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthen that assessment, said Clapper.
“We believe the decision would be made by the Supreme Leader himself, and he would base that on a cost-benefit analysis,” said Clapper, adding, “I don’t think you want a nuclear weapon at any price.”
Clapper went on to say that sanctions were an effective way of inducing change in Iran’s policy and behavior.
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