|US intel chief: Iran lacks A-bomb material
US Intelligence Chief Dennis Blair believes Iran is not in possession of highly enriched uranium that could be
used for making nuclear arms.
"We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium," Reuters quoted Blair on Tuesday as
saying in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"We assess that Iran has not yet made that decision" to convert the low-enriched uranium it is making to the
weapons-grade material, he added.
Blair's remarks come after US officials reacted differently to the IAEA's latest report on Iran's uranium
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its latest report on Iran's nuclear program in February
that the country had produced a total of 1,010 kilograms of low-enriched uranium (LEU).
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said that Iran has accumulated enough nuclear material to make
an atom bomb.
When asked on CNN's "State of the Union" program whether Iran has enough fissile material for a nuclear
weapon, Mullen said, "We think they do, quite frankly."
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, said in a Sunday interview with NBC television that Iran was
not close to a stockpile.
"I think that there has been a continuing focus on how do you get the Iranians to walk away from a nuclear
weapons program? They're not close to a stockpile. They're not close to a weapon at this point. And so, there is
some time," Gates said.
Israel also claimed, following the issuance of the report, that Tehran was one-step away from making a nuclear
Israel's military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin told Israeli cabinet ministers on Sunday that Iran
has "crossed the technological threshold" to build a nuclear bomb.
The US intelligence chief, Blair, however, said on Tuesday that Israel had adopted more of a "worst-case"
interpretation of Iran's nuclear developments.
Israel describes Iran as a threat to its existence and has repeatedly threatened Tehran with an attack over its
Iran rejects the allegations over its nuclear work, saying it only seeks peaceful applications of the technology.