Iran stopped work on its nuclear weapons program in 2003, a US National Intelligence Estimate revealed today. The report, which represents the consensus of America’s 16 spy agencies, contradicts a 2005 report that concluded Tehran was working toward building a bomb, the New York Times reports. The new assessment expresses hope that some combination of pressure and incentives could persuade Tehran to continue the halt.
Iran may still intend to restart the program, but its decisions have been “guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon,” the report says. If the regime did restart enrichment work, producing a nuclear bomb would take at least 2 years, and more likely 6. The NIE's public release, an intelligence official said, was meant “to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.”