'US, Israel agree Iran abandoned nuclear bomb'

US intelligence officials say US has difficulty gathering evidence on the ground in Iran, 'New York Times' reports.

March 18, 2012 07:52
2 minute read.
Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor 311 Reu. (photo credit: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


US and Israeli intelligence agencies mostly agree that Iran has not restarted its development of a nuclear bomb, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the assessment among top US officials is that Iran has not yet decided to pursue a nuclear weapon, a conclusion which was established based on intelligence analyses.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Israel - while seeing an existential threat in Iran's possible pursuit of a nuclear bomb - mostly agrees with those assessments, a US intelligence official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Times.

“Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” the Times quoted the official as saying.

Still, the report notes that the US has had difficulty formulating a complete picture of Iran's nuclear agenda, which intelligence officials said is due to the inability of the CIA to work effectively on the ground in Iran.

The US has been "virtually blind on the ground" in Iran since the hostage crisis over three decades forced the US to shutter its embassy in Tehran.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat


The available evidence the US has gathered is often outdated and incomplete, and provides more information about what Iran is not doing, the Times reported.

Recruiting spies has been particularly problematic, with the report noting a 2004 technical mistake that put a network of Iranian agents in jeopardy, and the doubtful testimony of an Iranian scientist who defected to the US, only to return to Iran claiming he was abducted by the CIA.

While the US and Israel share information on Iran, the US is reticent to accept intelligence Israel has gathered from the Iranian exile group the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), which the US considers a terrorist organization.

That hesitation stems from US experience in dealing with an Iraqi exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, which provided faulty intelligence on Iraq's weapons program that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The US prefers a method of wire tapping of Iranian officials, which helped the US in its 2005 assessment that Iran had abandoned its nuclear program in 2003.

While Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, and has indicated willingness to engage with the international community over its nuclear program, US President Barack Obama warned last week that the window for diplomacy is closing.

US intelligence officials concluded that the evidence that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had called off the nuclear program was "too hard to ignore," a conclusion that still "holds up really well," according to the report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations