U.S. Intel Chief: Israel takes `worst-case` view of Iran nukes threat (Haaretz)

In tegenstelling met voortdurende alarmerende waarschuwingen vanuit Israel, getuigen Amerikaanse top-intelligence autoriteiten dat Iran niet over hoog verrijkt uranium beschikt om nucleaire wapens te maken.

A top U.S. intelligence official says Israel had adopted more of a "worst-case" interpretation in concluding that Iran was further along in nuclear weapon development, but this was based on the same facts as Washington was working with.

In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, the officials – Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples – said Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel used to power a nuclear warhead.

The officials also said recent Iranian missile tests were not directly related to its nuclear activities. They said the two programs were believed to be on separate development tracks.

Blair had been asked to clarify recent conflicting statements from defense officials on Iran’s nuclear program.

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in a televised interview last week that the U.S. believes Iran has obtained enough nuclear material to make a bomb.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said hours later that Iran was in fact not close to having a nuclear weapon, which gives the United States and others time to try to persuade Tehran to abandon its suspected atomic arms program…

U.S. Intel Chief: Israel takes `worst-case` view of Iran nukes threat (Haaretz)

Military Intellience chief Amos Yadlin said Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting that "Iran has crossed the technological threshold" in its quest for nuclear arms.

"Arrival at military nuclear capability is a matter of strategy," Yadlin said. "Iran is accumulating hundreds of kilograms of enriched uranium at a low level and hopes to utilize the dialogue with the West in order to gain time, which is required in order to achieve the capability to manufacture a nuclear bomb."

Yadlin stressed that the American government’s new approach of dialogue with Iran is being treated with caution in the Middle East.

"The moderate Arab states think this will come at their cost and will be used for negative purposes by Iran and Syria, who are dragging out time with the appearance of talks but are continuing to arm themselves and to support terrorism," Yadlin said. "The extremist axis hopes the U.S. will change its stance, but they suspect that it is a step that will only advance the formulation of a more efficient coalition against them." ..

MI chief: Iran has crossed ‘technological threshold’ in quest for nukes (By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters)

The stand-off over the disputed Iranian nuclear program cannot be resolved without the engagement of Iran’s Arab neighbors, United Nations atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday.

He said a U.S. policy turnabout towards direct talks with Iran has boosted chances of a peaceful solution but the involvement of Arab states was crucial. Arabs have historically mistrusted Iran but are split over how to deal with it.

"I find it surprising that the Arab countries are not engaged in dialogue between Iran and the West. The neighbors so far have been sitting on the fence. Any solution to the Iranian issue has to engage the neighbors," ElBaradei said.

Middle East analysts say Gulf Arab states had little love for ex-U.S. President George W. Bush’s hawkish, no-negotiations stance on Iran, fearing it could lead to a ruinous regional war.

But now they worry that any U.S. rapprochement with Iran could ultimately produce a nuclear-armed, non-Arab, Shi’ite Muslim superpower in their back yard and squeeze Sunni Muslim Arabs between two non-Arab nuclear power hubs, Iran and Israel…

IAEA: Arabs crucial to resolving Iran nuke issue (Reuters/Haaretz)

While the United States was fighting for its economic life, Obama administration officials and the media issued a blizzard of contradictory claims over Iran’s alleged nuclear threat, leaving one wondering who is really charge of US foreign policy?

Much of the uproar over Iran’s so-far non-existent nuclear weapons must be seen as part of efforts by the Israeli lobby to block President Barack Obama’s proposed opening to Teheran, and to keep pressing the US to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Israel’s supporters and most Israeli military experts insist Iran has secret weapons programmes. Israel knows about covert nuclear programs, having run one of the world’s largest and most productive.

The hawkish Hillary Clinton’s naming of veteran Israel supporter Dennis Ross as her special adviser on Iran and the Gulf suggest she is more interested in building future domestic political support than securing balanced advice.

Meanwhile, confusion over Iran grew sharply. New CIA director, Leon Panetta, said ‘there is no question, they (Iran) are seeking that (nuclear weapons) capability.’

Pentagon chief Adm. Mike Mullen claimed Iran had ‘enough fissile material to build a bomb.’ Fox News claimed Iran already had 50 nuclear weapons. While the American Rome burns, here we go again with renewed hysteria over MWMD’s – Muslim Weapons of Mass Destruction. Wars drums are again beating over Iran.

The czar of all 16 US intelligence agencies, Adm. Dennis Blair, stated Iran could have enough enriched uranium for one atomic weapon by 2010-2015. But he reaffirmed the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is not pursuing them. Defence Secretary William Gates backed up Blair. So does the UN nuclear agency. Some of the confusion over Iran comes from misunderstanding nuclear enrichment, and lurid scare stories…

Here We Go Again With the Iranian Nuclear Scare (By Eric S. Margolis in Khaleej Times?ICH)

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