Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Ambitions

A new U.S. intelligence estimate says Iran gave up on building nuclear weapons in 2003. The report says Iran continues to enrich uranium, but likely couldn't make weapon until at least 2010.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): From NPR News in New York, this is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

(Soundbite of music)

ALISON STEWART, host:

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News, your home for news, information, and today, a little Blake Lewis. If you have to ask who that is, get to Googling.

I'm Alison Stewart.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

And I'm Luke Burbank.

It is Tuesday, December 4th, 2007. And, holy geez, when it rains enough in Seattle for it to be declared a state of emergency, that's like, a lot of rain.

STEWART: Yeah, tough doings in your hometown. How's your daughter? Is she all right? Is she…

BURBANK: She says she's good. I mean, it's actually a little south of Seattle, south of Olympia, which is the state capital where a lot of the really, really bad stuff was. But they said - I grew up by this lake called Green Lake, which is a pretty sizable - there's a few miles around it. And they said enough rain fell in Seattle in the last 24 hours to fill up Green Lake six times.

STEWART: Wow. Well, Korva Coleman's going to be along with the news with some more information on the tough weather in the Pacific Northwest.

Also coming up on the show today, a fellow at Columbia University wants to dump iron dust into the ocean. He thinks there'll be phytoplankton boom - bloom, and it'll suck all the CO2 out of the air. Sounds crazy, but it just might work.

BURBANK: That's right. That's the name of the series, all this week.

We're also going to talk to the - a guy who's kind of marketing something called the Phraselator. It was a secret - top secret military technology that kind of allowed soldiers to have translations of languages in places like Afghanistan. He figured out that it might be something useful to Native American tribes here in the U.S., and he's been spreading the word on that. We're going to find out more from him.

STEWART: And, of course, it's new music Tuesday. The Killers have a Christmas single out. That doesn't sound right, exactly.

BURBANK: Exactly.

STEWART: And like we just said, some Blake Lewis. Did you Google? He was the runner-up on "American Idol" - perhaps one of the more interesting and talented people to come through that franchise in a long time.

BURBANK: He did the beat box more than any other "American Idol" contestant.

STEWART: Kind of an interesting character.

We'll also go to Korva for today's headlines in just a minute.

But first, here is the BPP's Big Story.

(Soundbite of music)

BURBANK: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been swearing up and down for a long time now that his country isn't developing nuclear weapons. And now, it looks like he's getting help with that argument from a pretty unlikely source: the U.S. intelligence community.

STEWART: According to the combined wisdom of 16 intelligence agencies which contributed to the National Intelligence Estimate, quote, "We judge with high confidence that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program," end quote.

Declassified portions from the NIE were released yesterday.

BURBANK: The report does note that Iran's atomic intentions remain unclear, and that its nuclear program could give it the option of building weapons at some point. And it estimates the earliest Iran could do it is 2010, but it wouldn't be likely before 2015.

STEWART: For a little context here, this info comes from the same people who gave President Bush enough material to justify the war in Iraq, as in the weapons of mass destruction argument.

BURBANK: This report, though, contradicts a previous NIE released in 2005. That one concluded that Iran was relentlessly working towards a bomb.

STEWART: And just six weeks ago, President Bush used the words Iran, nuclear activity, and World War III in the same sentence?

BURBANK: I remember that.

STEWART: But now, President Bush's National Security advisor, Stephen Hadley, parsed the contradictions and somehow found some good news for the administration.

Mr. STEPHEN HADLEY (National Security Advisor): It confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. On the other hand, it tells us that we have made some progress in trying to ensure that that does not happen.

BURBANK: Not surprisingly, Iran said today that it's happy to hear about the report, saying, quote, "The condition of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities is becoming clear to the world." But Israel says they still don't trust that Iran's stopped all nuclear work. Its defense minister said, quote, "Only time will tell who is right."

STEWART: That is the BPP's Big Story.

Now, here's NPR's Korva Coleman with even more news.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.