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US ignores Iran’s active nuclear weapons activities by using ‘defective’ definition: Expert

An expert on Iran's nuclear development says the U.S. is improperly assessing Iran's pursuit of atomic weapons, supported by Dutch, Swedish and German intelligence reports.

A leading American expert on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program asserts the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s new report applied an obsolete definition when it assessed last week that Tehran is not currently pursuing atomic weapons.

The two-page unclassified U.S. intelligence report, which was released last week, stated "Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that would be necessary to produce a testable nuclear device."

When asked about a series of European intelligence reports from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany that point to Iran’s regime actively building a nuclear weapons program, David Albright, a physicist who is the founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., told Fox News Digital, "It is a matter of how Europeans define a nuclear weapon program vs. USA intelligence community’s definition, combined with a serious post-Iraqi WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction] analytical paralysis. It is amazing that U.S. intelligence community is still digging its heels in and using the defective, overly defensive 2007 NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] framework."

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Albright, who worked closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team from 1992 until 1997 focusing on Iraqi documents and past procurement activities, added, "Remember in that NIE a civil declared enrichment program was defined as by nature not part of a nuclear weapons program. So, they’re trapped by this absurd definition. And they ignore that the intelligence community’s definition of a secret nuclear weapons program in 2007 would be indicated by an undeclared uranium enrichment program, which the NIE said Iran was not building. But in fact, Iran was building a secret enrichment plant, unknown to IC in 2007, at Fordow."

He continued, "So, by their own definition, Iran had a nuclear weapons program in 2007, but they didn’t realize it and will never admit it now. There are other problems as well. The European definition is more comprehensive and typically includes buying the wherewithal to develop or make nuclear weapons components."

The main clash between the findings of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) report and the European reports revolves around whether Iran’s regime has an active nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence has yet to respond to Fox News Digital press queries.

Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service (AIVD) assessed Tehran’s development of weapons-grade uranium "brings the option of a possible [Iranian] first nuclear test closer."

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital "We are aware of the European reports regarding Iran’s nuclear program. We do not comment on matters of intelligence or have comments beyond what is in U.S. National Intelligence Assessment."

The spokesperson added "We continue to work closely with our European and other allies and partners to counter Iran’s development and proliferation of dangerous weapons. As we have said before, we are committed to ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon."

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When Fox News Digital asked Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service about the differences between the DNI and the Netherlands intelligence report, a spokesman for the Dutch intelligence agency said his country’s report had a concern about Iran "taking down hurdles related to the production of fissile material that could be used in a nuclear weapon."

The Dutch intelligence spokesman added, "In 2022, the AIVD has identified cases in which Iran (or Iranians) sought materials, technology or scientific knowledge from the Netherlands that were deemed relevant for the Iranian uranium enrichment program. The Netherlands consider it undesirable to contribute to Iran’s nuclear program. As stated in our yearly report, in 2022 the AIVD's efforts prevented an Iranian scientist, who was affiliated to a sanctioned institute, from being able to acquire relevant (applied) knowledge from a Dutch technical university."

According to the AIVD spokesman, "Iran is making significant progress in its uranium enrichment program. The accumulation of large quantities of fissile material normally poses a significant hurdle for any country aspiring to acquire a nuclear weapon. Prior to Iran abandoning its commitments under the JCPOA, this hurdle existed for Iran too, were they to pursue a nuclear weapon. However, in recent years Iran has developed its uranium enrichment capacities and has amassed large stockpiles of enriched uranium."

The JCPOA is an abbreviation for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal. In 2018, the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA because, according to Trump, the accord did not stop Iran’s regime from building a nuclear weapons device.

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The Dutch intelligence spokesman said "Iran has taken away a great deal of any hurdles related to the production of fissile material that could be used in a nuclear weapon (i.e. 90% enriched uranium, which they so far have not produced). This process continued into 2022."

When questioned about Sweden’s intelligence report singling out Iran’s regime for work on an active nuclear weapons program and whether that contradicts the DNI report, Adam Samara, a spokesman for the Swedish Security Service told Fox News Digital, "The Swedish Security Service will have to refer questions regarding other countries assessments to the country in question."

Samara added, "It is the assessment of the Swedish Security Service that Iran conducts unlawful intelligence gathering against Sweden, targeting knowledge and technology that could be used in a nuclear weapons programme. It is not however the role of the Swedish Security Service to assess whether Iran has an active nuclear weapons programme or not."

The Swedish intelligence agency spokesman previously told Fox News Digital. "Iran seeks Swedish technology and knowledge that can be used in their nuclear weapons program."

The Middle East Media Research Institute first published the translations of the European intelligence reports.

Germany’s Federal domestic intelligence agency noted in its June 2023 report that, "The authorities for the protection of the constitution were able to find, in 2022, a consistently high number of indications of proliferation relevant procurement attempts by Iran for its nuclear program."

The German intelligence report defines proliferation "The activities of foreign powers also include procuring products and knowledge for the production of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, other armaments or elements of new weapon systems."

Iran’s Foreign Ministry and its Permanent Mission to the United Nations declined to answer Fox News Digital press queries.

Fox News' Peter Petroff contributed to this report.

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