Iran is not likely to develop a nuclear weapon in 2012, a draft report by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) says.
Iran does not yet have the capacity to produce enough weapons-grade uranium, according to ISIS, which advises Washington and other governments about Iran's nuclear capabilities.
International sanctions and the threat of an attack by Israel are also said to be acting as a deterrent.
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The ISIS report, which has not yet been published but was seen by Reuters, said:
"Iran is unlikely to decide to dash toward making nuclear weapons as long as its uranium enrichment capability remains as limited as it is today [...]
"Iran is unlikely to break out in 2012, in great part because it is deterred from doing so."
There is no evidence that Iran has decided to build nuclear weapons at all, according to the report, which was funded by the independent United States Institute of Peace. The government is unlikely to commit to a weapons program until it has "the ability to make weapon-grade uranium quickly and secretly," ISIS said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed Iran had begun enriching uranium to up to 20 percent in U-235. Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to about 90 percent.
According to Reuters, US officials agree that Tehran is still weighing up the relative costs and benefits of building a bomb. Much of Iran's nuclear program does have civilian uses – as Tehran maintains – but the US government fears the country is keeping its options open, Washington sources said.
The ISIS report comes shortly after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged all sides to "try to defuse the tension" over Iran's disputed nuclear ambitions, saying that aggressive rhetoric was "not helpful."
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