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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid