US Intel does not rule out Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapon from abroad

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, US intelligence chief Dennis Blair warned that it would be difficult to convince Iran to give up its quest for nuclear weapons by diplomatic means. By 2010, he estimated, Tehran would have enough fissile material for a weapon.
He told the committee Tuesday, March 10 that “the agencies” could not “rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad or will acquire in the future a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon.”
A few hours earlier, in Tel Aviv, military and intelligence chiefs briefed designated prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the options open to Israel with regard to Iran’s suspect nuclear projects.
Netanyahu and Barak then retired for a private discussion about which no details were released.
At the same time, passages of the Blair testimony, the first by an official of the Barack Obama administration before the Senate, were aired. All carried disquieting import for US and Israel national security.
The intelligence director told lawmakers that Tehran might bow to a blend of “credible” incentives and “threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures” but “it is difficult to specify what such a combination might be.”
He went on to say: “Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them.”
Blair warned: “We assess convincing the Iranian leadership to forego the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult, given the linkage many within the leadership see between nuclear weapons and Iran’s key national security and foreign policy objectives.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources add that Blair’s refusal to rule out Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon from abroad may well mean that Tehran has bought one from North Korea or acquired it on the nuclear black market.

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