Critics of President Bush’s hardline policy on Iran’s nuclear ambitions have welcomed what appears to be a U-turn by the administration. The latest report by Washington’s National Intelligence Estimate plays down fears that Tehran may be close to producing nuclear weapons.
However, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley insisted Iran remains a threat: “The (intelligence community) has high confidence, high confidence, that Iran had a covert nuclear weapons programme, that it has never acknowledged and continues to deny. The IC has high confidence, that Iran halted its covert nuclear weapons programme in the fall of 2003, and they have moderate confidence that it had not restarted that programme as of mid-2007.”
Europe continues to favour diplomacy to de-fuse tensions, believing that talks will produce a solution, rather than threats of military action against Iran.
Five years ago flawed intelligence concluded Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which underpinned the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.