US intelligence agencies do not believe that Iran is actively trying to build a nuclear weapon, The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, citing a highly classified intelligence assessment from early 2011.
to the report, the intelligence estimate holds that Tehran halted
efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.
The Los Angeles Times
claims that the report, representing the input of 16 US intelligence
agencies, indicates that Iran is conducting research that could
eventually enable it to develop a nuclear weapon, but that it has not
sought to do so.
The report came as Defense Minister Ehud Barak
and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were scheduled to travel to
Washington next week for discussions with US Defense Minister Leon Panetta
and US President Barack Obama in which a possible attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities is expected to figure prominently.
Senior officials in the US, Britain and Russia all publicly entreated Israel this week not to attack Iran.
Diplomats in Vienna said Thursday
that Iran is believed to be carrying out preparations to expand nuclear
activity at an underground facility in Fordow, giving Iran better
protection against a potential Israeli or US strike.
team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) failed again this
week to get the Islamic state to start addressing their mounting
concerns about its nuclear work and returned empty handed to Vienna
after two days of talks in Iran.
The setback increased worries
about a downward spiral towards conflict between the Islamic Republic
and the West, and sent oil prices to a nine-month high.
UN agency is now putting the finishing touches to its next report on
Iran, expected to include information on the Tehran talks as well as
more detail on the status of the Fordow plant near the Shi'ite Muslim
holy city of Qom.
"I think we will see a jump in the potential state of readiness of the facility," one Vienna-based envoy said.
Reuters contributed to this report.