The head of U.S. intelligence believes that Iran’s recent actions speak loudly to its intentions, particularly given the country’s recent provocations since the Iran nuclear deal came into effect.
Testifying to the Senate Committee on Armed Services Tuesday, director of national intelligence James Clapper gave a very somber description of what he sees as Iran’s intentions toward the U.S. now that last summer’s nuclear deal has commenced. In particular, his statements offered little assurance that Iran is acting as an honest actor with the U.S. and the other states involved in last year’s negotiations, or that the nuclear deal will stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“Iran probably views JCPOA [Iran deal] as a means to remove sanctions while preserving nuclear capabilities, as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure,” said Clapper, who also noted that, so far, he sees no evidence that Iran is violating the nuclear deal.
Clapper’s statements stand in stark contrast with those made by President Barack Obama, who lauded the nuclear accord last summer, claiming it would not only stop all of Iran’s possible pathways to a nuclear weapon, but that “under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon.”
Clapper, however, did not express much confidence that Iran’s nuclear ambitions had been completely blunted.
“We do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” he admitted.
When queried on Iran’s missile tests conducted in October and December of 2015 just months after the signing of the Iran deal, he had no doubts the Islamic republic was trying to send a message.
“I think this was a deliberate message of defiance and that the Iranians are going to continue with an aggressive program to develop their missile force,” said Clapper.
The Obama administration responded to the tests with a new round of sanctions on Iran’s missile program. Iranian officials said the new sanctions will not deter its ambitious missile program, and that it will instead go on the “offensive” in response.
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