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Iran still undecided on nuclear bomb: U.S. intelligence chief

(Xinhua)

13:29, February 01, 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday that Iran is still undecided on whether to make a nuclear bomb though it has the ability.

"There is dissension and debate in the political hierarchy of Iran (over whether to build a nuclear weapon)," U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a hearing held by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

While weighing the pros and cons of making a nuclear weapon, Iranian politicians have not yet reached "unanimity" on the issue, he said, adding that though Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon, the Islamic Republic is not building one right now.

Clapper also said Iran is more likely to respond with an attack on the United States.

The new U.S. sanctions would have a great impact on Iran, but they were not likely to result in the fall of its regime, he said.

CIA Director David Petraeus, who testified at the same hearing, said new sanctions on Iran "have been biting much, much more in recent weeks," but it remained to be seen whether this could force Iran to change its behavior and policy on its nuclear program.

On Dec. 31, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill with provisions asking for new sanctions on Iran, targeting foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank, the main conduit for its oil revenues.

The move, aimed at choking off Iran's critical oil income, prompted furious reactions from the Islamic Republic, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most critical oil routes.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Washington would "not tolerate" the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz and Iran's production of a nuclear weapon. He stressed that they were two "red lines," and the United States would respond if Iran crossed them.

In his State of the Union speech last Tuesday, Obama said the United States is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and no option was off the table. But he also said a peaceful resolution of the issue is "still possible, and far better" if Iran changes course.

However, Iran firmly denied the U.S. claims, saying that its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast last week described the U.S. threat to use military force against Iran as a means of propaganda.

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bill h at 2012-02-07195.59.168.*
Iran has decided, they will never build a nuclear bomb.
  

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