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US intelligence on Iran's nuclear program is inadequate: US newspaper
Wed Mar 9, 9:19 AM ET Politics - AFP
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US intelligence on Iran (news - web sites)'s suspected nuclear weapons program is insufficient for making firm judgments, a nine-member panel is expected to report confidentially to President George W. Bush (news - web sites) by the end of this month, according to a US newspaper.
The report in The New York Times on the quality of intelligence on nuclear proliferation around the world that Bush ordered last year was also critical of US intelligence gathered on North Korea (news - web sites), but the data on Iran was described as especially worrisome and "scandalous" by people briefed on the panel's work.
A classified version of the panel's report will be given to Bush by March 31, while an unclassified version which may or may not included the criticism of intelligence on Iran will be made public at about the same time, the daily said.
The newspaper's account of the assessment comes as the Bush administration on Tuesday called on the international community to consider possible actions against Iran following its reluctance in talks with the European Union (news - web sites) to drop its sensitive nuclear activities.
Britain, France and Germany are trying to convince Iran to halt its work on the nuclear fuel cycle -- including the sensitive process of enriching uranium -- in return for a package of incentives covering trade, security and technology.
The United States maintains that Iran is trying to covertly develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists that its programme is purely meant to meet civilian energy needs.
People briefed on the bipartisan presidential panel could not be more specific in describing the inadequacies of US intelligence on Iran, but former US experts on the country said that despite the enormous resources devoted to Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979, US intelligence agencies have had little success in human spying necessary to understand Iranian decision-making.
Like with Iraq, I believe that the US doesn't give a crap about WMD, it is simply a pretext with which they use to justify their military actions. This is simply because they seem to come to the conclusion first, and then look for evidence to fit that conclusion. Besides, the real WMD worry for the world should be North Korea, and the US is clearly not going to bother with NK as much as it will with Iran. That begs the question, why is the US interested in Iran? Well, I believe that US foreign policy in the middle east ever since the Islamic revolution in Iran, has been to stop that revolution spreading across the region, if that happens, the US is going to be so screwed when Islamic fundamentalists have control over a quater of the worlds oil reserves. That is why the US supported Saddam initially ('as a bulwark against Islamic extremism', as Rumsfeld put it), why all the sanctions are there, why the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan (I believe it is to isolate Iran by sandwiching it between two democratic nations, at least that is what the plan was). Quite clearly the Ayatohlahs aren't budging, and Islamic extremism has gained massive support on the street (as the counter-demonstrations by Hizbollah in Lebanon showed), so the US is getting quite worried. I think the next 10 years are going to be very intersting for the middle east, either democracy will take hold, or it will fall into the hands of the extremists. I think Bush is one of the worst US presidents ever, but I do believe he is genuine when he says he wants to spread democracy in the middle-east, because that is now the only way to stop the tide of Islamic extremism which is gripping the region.
-------------------- 'Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted' - Albert Einstein
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's minister for information and broadcasting says that A.Q. Khan, the country's leading nuclear scientist, provided Iran with centrifuges that could be used in the process of making nuclear weapons.
The now-disgraced Khan has been under house arrest since authorities discovered his participation in a nuclear black market last year. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him and has kept him away from international investigators.
"He had given centrifuges to Iran in his individual capacity and the government of Pakistan had nothing to do with this," Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told CNN Thursday.
Khan confessed to providing Libya with enriched uranium and gas centrifuge parts.
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