Iran's defense minister on Thursday vowed that his country would "use nuclear defense as a potential" if "threatened by any power."
Iran said Tuesday it was producing nuclear defense equipment to protect its citizens in case of any possible attack on its nuclear facilities, according to Tuesday media reports.
"Iran has produced nuclear defense equipment," Iran quoted Shamkhani as saying.
"If our nuclear power plants are targeted, there will be radioactive releases. You need special equipment to control it. Also, some countries in our neighborhood have achieved nuclear technology. We have to be prepared if there is an accident there," Shamkhani was quoted as saying.
How good is US intelligence about nuclear facts on the ground in Iran? In April, when asked about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that “Iran has joined the club of nuclear countries,” National Intelligence Council chairman Tom Fingar stated that there is no dissent within the 15 US intelligence agencies that Iran will get a nuclear bomb no sooner than “early to mid next decade”.
This American view stands in stark contrast to the Israeli intelligence judgment, with the head of Mossad reporting in December 2005 that Iran could have a nuclear bomb within two years.
Could the unanimity of American intelligence be “déjà vu all over again”, only the reverse of the Iraq WMD fiasco? In the lead-up to the Iraq war, American intelligence agencies expressed “high confidence” that “Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programmes.” They were dead wrong.
In the aftermath of that intelligence failure, the Silverman-Robb Commission examined the capacity of US intelligence agencies to assess WMD developments abroad. It concluded: “Across the board, the intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programmes of many of the world’s most dangerous actors.”
Consider also that members of the CIA have described the agency’s covert action abilities inside Iran from 2000 through 2004 as “unchanged: they’re zero”. As James Risen reports in State of War, a US intelligence blunder allowed Iranian security officials to “roll up” the American network of spies in Iran.