The unclassified part of Director of U.S. National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair’s report for the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence does not present anything new about Iran, nothing which has not been known so far. Of course, it mentions the new enrichment facility in Qom, but whether Iran has made the political decision to manufacture nuclear weapons is still unclear. The report mentions that 8000 centrifuges are currently installed in Natanz but there seem to problems since only about half of the installed centrifuges are operating.
“Irans’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our 2007 NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements lead us to reaffirm our judgment from the 2007 NIE that Iran is technically capable of producing enough HEU (highly enriched uranium) for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so.”
Dennis C. Blair also points to the classified part:
“… In my classified statement for the record, I have outlined in further detail the Intelligence Community’s judgments regarding Iranian nuclear-related activities, as well as its chemical and biological-weapons activities and refer you to that assessment.”
Iranian President Ahmadinejad might have had, in particular, the classified part in mind when having mentioned in yesterday’s interview with Iranian State television his surprising turn with a new offer to actually do the swap of low-enriched uranium in order to get enriched at 20% uranium for producing medical isotopes in Tehran’s research reactor.
Last update February 6, 2010