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 Post subject: U.S. Intel Chief Issues Warning Over Iran
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:51 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Posts: 1672
Location: South Australia
U.S. Intel Chief Issues Warning Over Iran By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress on Thursday that Iran probably does not yet have nuclear weapons, nor has it obtained the material central to producing them.

Still, Negroponte called Iran's nuclear program a matter of "highest concern." In prepared testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, he said that Iran and North Korea are both major threats to U.S. security.

Negroponte raised the possibility that Iran "will acquire a North Korea weapon and the ability to integrate it with the ballistic missile Iran already possesses."

Negroponte spoke as U.S. and European diplomats worked behind the scenes to build support for their decision to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council over concerns that it seeking nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors began a two-day meeting on a European draft resolution calling for Tehran to be referred to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

Notwithstanding worries about Iran, "Al-Qaida remains our top concern," Negroponte said in his prepared testimony.

"We have eliminated much of the leadership that presided over al-Qaida in 2001," he said, "and U.S. counterterrorism efforts in 2005 continued to disrupt its operations take out its leaders and deplete its cadre."

But, Negroponte added, the terror organization's core elements still plot and make preparations for terrorist strikes.

On Iraq, Negroponte said that Iraqi Sunni disaffection with the emerging government is the "primary enabler" of the insurgency there.

"Even if a broad inclusive national government emerges, there almost certainly will be a lag time before we see a dampening effect on the insurgency," he added.

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