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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Admits Iran is NOT Developing Nuclear Weapons

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has acknowledged what most intelligence insiders have known for years– that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear bomb.

The Raw Story reports that Panetta appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday, where he admitted that despite all the hawkish bluster from warmongering conservatives (and even many Democrats), Iran is not trying to develop nuclear weapons, merely “a nuclear capability”:

“I think the pressure of the sanctions, the diplomatic pressures from everywhere, Europe, the United States, elsewhere, it’s working to put pressure on them. To make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

That’s exactly what the Iranians have been trying to tell us for years. As a sovereign state, they have every right to develop nuclear capabilities which they will use for civilian purposes. Tehran has announced that is has created nuclear fuel rods, but the enrichment process for nuclear energy  is very different from the process used to make weapons-grade uranium. Some of Iran’s enriched uranium will also be used to help treat cancer patients.

Panetta’s admission flies in the face of an International Atomic Energy Agency report released last year that claimed Iran had carried out tests that could have been the preliminary steps toward building nukes.

That report, however, did not square with the U.S. government’s own National Intelligence Estimate assessment, a consensus of all 16 of our nation’s spy agencies that concluded Iran stopped working on nukes in 2003. A January 2011 U.S. assessment also said Iran was not working on the bomb, and Israel’s outgoing spy chief Meir Dagan concurred.

Still, the U.S. is ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime. Tough new sanctions have been imposed, and both sides have been rattling their sabres with shows of force in the Persian Gulf region. The U.S. just announced a planned $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the largest in history. And thousands of U.S. troops have reportedly began arriving in Israel.

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