News / USA

US Intel Chiefs Assess Iranian Threat

CIA Director David Petraeus (r) listens as Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, left, testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, Jan. 31, 2012.
CIA Director David Petraeus (r) listens as Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, left, testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, Jan. 31, 2012.
Michael Bowman

America’s top intelligence official says Iran is increasingly willing to conduct attacks in the United States or against U.S. interests overseas, but does not appear to have decided to build a nuclear weapon.

In written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said last year’s foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington shows that some Iranian officials “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived actions that threaten the regime.” He said such officials could include the country’s supreme leader.

Iran has denied taking part in assassination plots and insisted it has no intention of building nuclear weapons. On that second point, Clapper told senators Iran could be telling the truth, at least for now.

“They are certainly moving on that path, but we do not believe they have made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon," said Clapper, adding that the extent to which Iran enriches uranium will be a key signal of its intentions.

Also appearing before the Intelligence Committee, CIA Director David Petraeus agreed with Clapper’s analysis, but said Iran’s current enrichment activities already surpass what is needed for a peaceful nuclear program.

“Factually, the amount of 20 percent enriched uranium that they have exceeds any requirement, for example, for the Tehran research reactor for the foreseeable future," he said.

Petraeus and Clapper acknowledged recent consultations between U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies concerning Iran, but did not elaborate.

The U.S. recently boosted economic sanctions on Iran. The director of national intelligence expressed hope that such pressure will curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said only the toughest of sanctions have a chance of succeeding.

"I have come to believe that Iran's leaders are not going to give up their push for a nuclear weapons capability, unless they believe it is going to cost them their hold on power," said Wyden.

On other national security matters, Clapper hailed recent U.S. successes against al-Qaida, including the killing or capture of its leaders and the degrading of its ability to mount a major terrorist strike. The ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, expressed gratitude that an all-consuming question since 2001 - where is Osama bin Laden? - has been answered.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid