US intelligence analysts believe there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The report comes a day after the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said that Iran had accelerated its nuclear program, with the country having increased its production of higher-grade enriched uranium over the past few months.
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The International Atomic Energy Agency's director-general Yukiya Amano wrote in the report issued Friday that Iran had also refused to answer key questions about its nuclear development program.
"As Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation … the agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities," Amano stated, the LA Times reported.
Citing unnamed officials, the Times said the latest assessments by US spy agencies were broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
The report, while not explicitly stating that the Islamic Republic is pushing ahead with atomic bomb plans, will likely further inflame Israeli fears that is the case, Reuters reported.
"The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the IAEA wrote in its a quarterly report about Iran issued to member states.
Reacting to the IAEA report, Israel said today that it was "added proof" that Iran wants to develop a bomb, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.
"Iran is pursuing its nuclear programme with no end in sight. It is enriching uranium to 20 percent, totally ignoring demands by the international community," the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a statement.
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In response to the report, the White House said it was clear Iran was violating UN Security Council resolutions with its nuclear enrichment program.
"When combined with its continued stonewalling of international inspectors, Iran's actions demonstrate why Iran has failed to convince the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful," White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
The Times, meantime, wrote that there was no dispute among US, Israeli and European intelligence officials that Iran had been enriching nuclear fuel and developing some necessary infrastructure to become a nuclear power.
However, the CIA and other intelligence agencies believed that Iran had yet to decide whether to design a nuclear warhead.
They believe that program was halted in 2003, the paper noted, adding that their assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America's 16 intelligence agencies.
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