Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement today regarding the release of the unclassified key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities:

    “I welcome the release of the unclassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate, which provides the intelligence community’s latest perspective on Iran’s nuclear intentions and capabilities.  I would note that this assessment was mandated by the Fiscal Year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act and is almost eleven months overdue.  I have been calling for its release for some time and Congress is still waiting for the third and final part of the required comprehensive look at Iran regarding its conventional military capabilities.

    “While the NIE makes clear that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons should it decide to do so, the report indicates that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 and had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007.  Iran still has the capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, and the United States needs to remain vigilant should Iran decide to renew this pursuit.  This is particularly true because there is no indication that Iran has slowed its civilian nuclear energy program, including uranium enrichment.

    “Nevertheless, I am encouraged by the assessment that international pressure may have been an important factor in Iran’s decision to suspend its nuclear weapons program.  It is in the interest of the United States to continue working with our international partners to ensure that Iran continues on this current path to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”