Iran's Nuclear Program: Status [September 26, 2012]   [open pdf - 533KB]

"Although Iran claims that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, the program has generated considerable concern that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Indeed, the UN Security Council has responded to Iran's refusal to suspend work on its uranium enrichment program by adopting several resolutions that imposed sanctions on Tehran. Despite evidence that sanctions and other forms of pressure have slowed the program, Iran continues to enrich uranium, install additional centrifuges, and conduct research on new types of centrifuges. […] The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors Iran's nuclear facilities and has been able to verify that Tehran's declared nuclear facilities and materials have not been diverted for military purposes. But the agency still has concerns about the program, particularly evidence that Iran may have conducted procurement activities and research directly applicable to nuclear weapons development. The United States has assessed that Tehran has the technical capability eventually to produce nuclear weapons, but has not yet mastered all of the necessary technologies for building such weapons. Whether Iran has a viable design for a nuclear weapon is unclear. Whether Iran has a nuclear weapons program is also unclear. A National Intelligence Estimate made public in December 2007 assessed that Tehran 'halted its nuclear weapons program' in 2003. The estimate, however, also assessed that Tehran is 'keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons' and that any decision to end a nuclear weapons program is 'inherently reversible.' U.S. intelligence officials have reaffirmed this judgment on several occasions. For example, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated in January 2012 that Iran 'is keeping open the option to develop' nuclear weapons."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34544
Public Domain
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U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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