(photo credit: AP [file])
US State Department officials estimate that Iran will be unable to develop a nuclear weapon in the next four years despite previous assessments, according to a recently disclosed congressional document.
According to a report published in the Washington Post on Friday, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research stated that Iran would be unable to produce weapons-grade material before 2013.
However the report emphasized that findings were based on technical capability and did not consider a time period in which Teheran "might make any political decision" to produce highly enriched uranium.
The document cites analysts as asserting that any such decision by the Iranian government is unlikely to be made while "international scrutiny and pressure persist."
On Monday The Times reported that Iran could complete the manufacture of an atomic bomb within a year, and is just waiting for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to give the go-ahead.
Intelligence sources were quoted by the British newspaper as saying that the Islamic republic had put a stop to its nuclear arms research program back in 2003 as it had already developed the means to detonate a nuclear warhead which could be launched on the Shahab-3 long-range missile.