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VIENNA (Associated Press) -- Iran's president wants to shed the nation's secrecy and forge ahead openly with developing nuclear weapons but is opposed by the clerical leadership, which is worried about international reaction to such a move, says an intelligence assessment shared with The Associated Press.
That view, from a nation with traditionally reliable intelligence from the region, cannot be confirmed and contrasts with assessments by other countries that view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as relatively moderate on the nuclear issue compared to the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Attempts to interpret Iran's goals are important because as it expands uranium enrichment, it is moving closer to being able to make a nuclear weapon by the day, even as it asserts that it is not interested in such arms and its programs are geared only to making reactor fuel.
A U.S. official cited one assessment he has seen suggesting Ahmadinejad may be more "moderate" - more open to talks with the international community on resolving nuclear concerns than Khamenei. He asked for anonymity because his information was privileged.
But a blunt comment by Ahmadinejad last month raises questions. While repeating that Iran does not want nuclear arms, he openly reinforced its ability to make them, telling Iranian state TV that "if we want to make a bomb, we are not afraid of anybody."
That defiant statement fits the scenario laid down by the intelligence assessment shared with the AP, depicting Ahmadinejad as wanting to move publicly to develop a nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad is pushing "to shake free of the restraints Iran has imposed upon itself, and openly push forward to create a nuclear bomb," says the assessment shared with the AP. But Khamenei, whose word is final on nuclear and other issues, "wants to progress using secret channels, due to concern about a severe response from the West," says the report.
The varying views reflect the difficulties that intelligence agencies face when probing a secretive nation that plays its cards close to its chest. Lines of division are murky. Alliances shift and positions change, leaving governments and private analysts frustrated as they try to nail down Tehran's nuclear end game.
They converge, however in noting that recent political divisions between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have spilled over to encompass Iran's nuclear activities to a greater degree than before.
Originally posted by moskva666
Originally posted by ispyed
mm No mention of who the "reliable intelligence source" is. CIA?
Originally posted by Vitchilo
And really who cares what Ahmadinejad thinks?
If you look at the Iranian political hierarchy, he doesn't control squat. The Mullahs control everything. And what they want most is keep their power. Openly developing nukes is just inviting trouble.
Originally posted by neo96
reply to post by Xcathdra
i do too many people dismiss iran and its intentions and deflect whatever the topic is when it comes to iran.
iran is a threat to the world in more ways than one.