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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid