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US Military Assessing Impact of Latest Intelligence Estimate on Iran

A senior U.S. military officer says there has been no change in military planning in the wake of the U.S. intelligence report that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

In a rare news conference, the chief of strategic planning for the senior U.S. military staff, Lieutenant General John Sattler, said the national intelligence estimate has become part of the body of information he uses to make long-range plans, but it hasn't resulted in any changes so far.

"We take the national intelligence estimate on board as we look at the multiple engagements that we have with the country of Iran," said General Sattler.

"I'm not going to confirm or deny any planning that's going on anywhere around the world on multiple potential contingencies. But I can state that there has been no course correction, slow down, speed up given to us inside the joint staff based on the NIE," he continued.

General Sattler said the staff is still assessing the significance of the intelligence estimate for military planning. The estimate, made public on Monday, says Iran appears to have suspended its nuclear weapons program four years ago. Previously, U.S. officials had said they believed Iran had an active program, and was fairly close to fielding a nuclear weapon.

On another subject, General Sattler said the military remains concerned about Iranian involvement in the Iraqi insurgency. He repeated statements by other senior officials that it is not yet clear whether Iran is fulfilling its promise to stop providing weapons, explosives, training and money to Iraqi insurgents.

It has been widely reported that the US military has plans ready in case it gets ordered to attack Iran, and updates them on a regular basis. But, officials only say they plan for all contingencies, and all the plans are secret.