US NIE Report a Victory for Iran

A01802263.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The US intelligence report that found no evidence of a current Iranian nuclear weapons program is a victory for the Islamic Republic, Iran’s president said on Wednesday.

The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), published on Monday, stated that Tehran is not conducting any non-peaceful nuclear activities.

The report contradicted a previous US intelligence assessment in 2005 which said that Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear bomb.

“That report symbolizes the victory of the Iranian nation against international forces on the issue of nuclear weapons,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

He said Iran would not take a single step back in its peaceful nuclear program.

US President Bush remained hawkish, however, saying on Tuesday that, “Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know-how to make a nuclear weapon.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei welcomed the report, saying it was consistent with the agency’s own findings and that it should prompt Iran to work actively with the IAEA to resolve the remaining issues.

An earlier report by the IAEA director general praised Iran’s cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and described Tehran as truthful about key aspects of its past nuclear activities.

Russia, which has previously stated its opposition to increased sanctions against Teheran, said it had no proof that Iran has ever run a nuclear weapons program.

“The data that we have seen does not allow us to say that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov also said on Tuesday that Iran was committed to cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and had confirmed its adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Speaking after President Vladimir Putin’s meeting in Moscow with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, Lavrov said that, “We noted the willingness of Iran to adhere to cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iran again confirmed its adherence to an observation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

“Putin reiterated his call for Iran’s leadership to ensure honest and full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to clarify all of the issues interesting the agency,” he added.

In talks with Jalili, at the presidential residence near Moscow, Putin welcomed Tehran’s cooperation with the IAEA.

“It’s pleasant to note that contacts between Russia and Iran have intensified at all levels,” Putin said, recalling that the Russian foreign minister had recently visited Iran.

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