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US Says Iran Remains a Threat; Iran Accuses US of Espionage

  • VOA News

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Iran remains a threat to the Middle East and the United States, despite a new US report saying Tehran ended a nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Gates told a security conference in Bahrain Saturday that he believes Iran is trying to create instability and chaos in the region.

He also said the international community must intensify efforts in pressuring Iran to stop enriching uranium -- a process that can be used in developing nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Iran is accusing the United States of using espionage to compile the report (the US National Intelligence Estimate) released Monday.

Iran has never acknowledged having a nuclear weapons program and says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only.

Israeli lawmaker Ephraim Sneh -- who used to be a deputy defense minister -- has described the recent US report as "very flawed." He said the report did not give sufficient weight to Iran's nuclear enrichment program and that even if Iran did suspend its pursuit of nuclear weapons, it could restart it at any time.

In a statement issued Saturday, the principal deputy director of US National Intelligence, Donald Kerr, said the US intelligence community is confident of the analysis in the report.

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