There is no serious evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear-weapons programme, according to a recent assessment by US intelligence agencies, the New York Times (NYT) has reported.
According to an American official quoted by the NYT, US intelligence analysts say the latest assessment is consistent with a 2007 intelligence report that concluded that the Islamic republic had abandoned its nuclear weapons programme several years ago.
The official added that the latest assessment also largely reaffirmed a 2010 US National Intelligence Estimate that came to similar conclusions and which remained the consensus view of America’s 16 main intelligence agencies.
On Saturday, however, UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claimed in a new report that Iran had recently ramped up production of enriched uranium. The report, which claims that Iran is enriching the uranium at an underground site near the holy city of Qum, follows a visit by IAEA inspectors to Iranian nuclear facilities last week.
The IAEA report further alleges that Iran has partially installed "2,000 empty centrifuge casings at its Fordo uranium enrichment facility." The report also states that 696 centrifuges, used to enrich uranium by spinning it at supersonic speeds, had now been installed, "meaning the facility is approaching its design capacity."
Iran has consistently stated that its nuclear programme is intended for strictly civilian purposes.