US spy chief: Iran keeping option open on nuclear weapon

By REUTERS
January 31, 2012 17:23

WASHINGTON - Iran is keeping the option open to develop a nuclear weapon but US intelligence agencies do not know whether it will eventually decided to build one, the US intelligence chief said on Tuesday.

New US sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program were likely to have a greater impact than previous ones, but were not expected to lead to the downfall of Tehran's leadership, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in prepared testimony on the annual worldwide threat assessment for the Senate intelligence committee.

"We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so," Clapper said. "We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons."

Iran is expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities, which can be used for either civil or weapons purposes, he said.


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