Earlier this month, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen made headlines when he was asked by CNN whether Iran had enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. “We think they do, quite frankly,” Mullen said. This morning, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) asked Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair to address the “confusion” about what the intelligence says about Iran’s weapons capacity. Blair said the intelligence community has assessed that Iran does not possess any highly-enriched uranium, and clarified that Mullen had been referring only to low-enriched uranium.
Moreover, Blair said that the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which judged that “in the fall of 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program,” still stands:
LEVIN: In 2007, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran said that “the intelligence community judges with high confidence that in the fall of 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” Is the position of the intelligence community the same as it was back in October of ‘07? Has that changed?
BLAIR: Mr. Chairman, the nuclear weapons program is one of the three components required for deliverable system, including the delivery system and the uranium. But as for the nuclear weapons program, the current position is the same, that Iran has stopped its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities in 2003 and did not — has not started them again, at least as of mid-2007.
Despite the intelligence assessments, conservatives have continued to fearmonger on Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity. Last week, John Bolton told Fox’s Sean Hannity that Iran could have a functional nuclear bomb “within a matter of six to nine months.” Just last Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) insisted on Fox News Sunday that we “have information” that Iran is well on the path to a nuclear weapon:
CHRIS WALLACE: Let’s turn to foreign policy. And there is some breaking news. Iran has announced this morning that they have launched a new long-range missile. Your reaction.
MCCAIN: It’s not surprising, and it’s not surprising that we continue to have information that they have the material to make nuclear weapons. Exactly where they are is not totally clear, but they’re obviously on that trip.
Despite the repeated assessments of intelligence analysts, the right continues to spew false claims about Iran’s weapons programs.