US intelligence official defends report on Iran

( AFP ) - A top US intelligence official on Saturday responded to right-wing critics of a report that found Iran had suspended its atomic weapons program, saying the findings were the result of "solid" analysis.

"The task of the Intelligence Community is to produce objective, ground truth analysis," said Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence.

"We feel confident in our analytic tradecraft and resulting analysis in this estimate," Kerr said in a brief written statement.

US spy agencies tend to prefer a low public profile, but Kerr issued the unusual statement after Republican lawmakers questioned the conclusions of US intelligence agencies this week on Iran's nuclear work.

In a stunning reversal, the agencies declared with "high confidence" that Iran halted a secret nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure.

The assessment of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on Monday overturned long-held US policy assumptions that Iran is bent on obtaining nuclear weapons, regardless of international demands or sanctions.

Kerr said he issued the statement "in response to those questioning the analytic work and integrity of the United States Intelligence Community."

"National Intelligence Estimates contain the coordinated judgments of the Intelligence Community regarding the likely course of future events and the implications for US policy," he said.

US President George W. Bush and other top officials had made dire warnings about Iran's nuclear program, and Democrats in Congress now say his administration was overstating the threat posed by Tehran.

Republican lawmakers are calling for a congressional committee to review the findings, saying such a dramatic change in the assessment of the intelligence agencies deserves careful scrutiny.

Conservative commentators charged intelligence had been manipulated by analysts in an attempt to influence the political debate on Iran -- a charge once leveled at the White House by liberal opponents of the Iraq war.

Former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, known as a foreign policy hawk, wrote in a commentary this week that "the NIE is internally contradictory and insufficiently supported."

He also warned that the regime in Tehran may have put out false information to mislead the world, saying "the risks of disinformation by Iran are real."

"The sudden appearance of new (intelligence) sources should be taken with more than a little skepticism," Bolton wrote in the Washington Post.

Senior US intelligence officials said this week they had responded to new information, subjected to more rigorous analysis than in the past, in reaching their conclusions on Iran's nuclear efforts.

They said they were determined not to repeat the errors made in 2002, when bogus intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction set the United States on a course to war.

On a visit to Bahrain, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday still emphasized the threat posed by Iran.

Gates told delegates at a conference on regional security that Iran's foreign policy was a threat to the United States, the Middle East and all countries within range of the medium-range ballistic missiles he said Tehran was developing.

Gates also conceded the timing of the NIE report was not ideal. "The estimate fairly has come at a wrong time, it has annoyed a number of our good friends and confused a number of people," he told delegates.

Gulf countries at the meeting loudly signaled their opposition to any military option against Tehran.

"What we care for in the (Gulf Cooperation Council) is finding solutions that enhance security and stability ... and believe in dialogue as a way to solve the crisis" between the West and Iran, GCC secretary general Abdulrahman al- Attiyah told AFP.

Georgian gov't administration head Natia Mezvrishvili resigns
Georgian gov't administration head Natia Mezvrishvili resigns
Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone talks about ongoing projects
Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone talks about ongoing projects
Main source of self-financing for Tbilisi City Hall to be tax revenues
Main source of self-financing for Tbilisi City Hall to be tax revenues
Loading Bars
Israeli airline El Al announces direct flight route to UAE
China launches Chang'e-5 to collect, return moon samples
UN working on deploying mine clearance mission to Nagorno-Karabakh
UN says US’ decision to withdraw from Open Skies Treaty is regrettable
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 542,000 in past day
Uzbek-Chinese construction enterprise eyes increasing production
Demand for Turkish steel growing on Turkmen construction market
Total 10M2020 capital of Turkey-registered Azerbaijani companies revealed
Azerbaijan’s Baku Metro opens tender to buy equipment
Iran exports to CIS hit $692mn in six months: TPO
Flag of Azerbaijan raised at former secondary school of Gulabli village in Aghdam (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Teimur Radjabov defeats Levon Aronian at Skilling Open tournament
Ukrainian president retests negative for COVID-19
Turkey summons EU, Germany, Italy envoys after interception of Libya-bound commercial vessel
President Ilham Aliyev raises Azerbaijani flag in Aghdam city (PHOTO)
Georgian gov't administration head Natia Mezvrishvili resigns
EU promises 217 mln USD to debt relief for 29 poorest countries
It is time to rebuild, heal and revive Azerbaijani Fuzuli city - Algerian Ambassador (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva visit liberated from occupation Aghdam city (PHOTO)
Meeting with the leadership of the Interstate Television and Radio Company “Mir”
Turkmenistan participates to the 2020 Afghanistan Conference
Mine explosion in Karabakh injures Russian officer on search mission
Azerbaijan's Culture Ministry urges French cultural figures to be honest and impartial
Baku Metro, Almetcon LLC sign contract on installation of aluminum windows
Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone talks about ongoing projects
Azerbaijan expects growth of pomegranate yield
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 24
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footage from Aghdam (VIDEO)
Growth of monetary aggregates observed in 9M2020 - Central Bank of Azerbaijan
Iran preparing to use water reservoir on Araz River on border with Azerbaijan
Main source of self-financing for Tbilisi City Hall to be tax revenues
Azerbaijan to make amendments to e-mortgage & loan guarantee system
Lufthansa to resume flights to Iran
Azerbaijan investigating criminal case against Armenian ex-minister
CoE approves trilateral declaration to end all hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Goods stuck in Iran customs exceed 550,000 tons
Iran claims its COVID-19 death toll to decrease next month
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price starts to rise
Uzbek currency rates for November 23
Turkmen Ministry of Construction extends tender for construction of checkpoints
Iran reveals investments for Markazi Province
Azerbaijani consumers prefer to buy car on credit - expert
Kazakhstan to establish facilities around big plants in Kyzylorda region
Azerbaijan to initially organize educational tourism in liberated districts - state agency
Expert explains Iran's current limits with its oil, oil product exports, revenues
Iran-Afghanistan, Khaf-Herat railway to open soon
Kazakhstan decreases exports to Netherlands amid COVID-19
Georgian Tskali Margebeli company may increase prices of products
Uzbek commodity exchange trading floor opened in Ukraine
Innovative Technology Park in Uzbekistan starts developing robots production
Azerbaijani mortgage fund issues regular bond interests
Prices of old apartments decline in Georgia
Azerbaijan confirms 634 more COVID-19 recoveries
Turkmenistan's Turkmentehnogurlusyk opens tender for audit
Turkey announces commissioning date for logistics center in Kars province
Iranian tourists reduce visits to Turkey amid COVID-19 pandemic
Azerbaijani organizations to benefit from Visa's updated Fast Track program
Azerbaijan discloses revenues from passenger, cargo transportations via TRACECA
Toyota leads re-exported vehicle brand from Georgia
Iran to launch Bostanabad-Tabriz railway line
Kazakhstan increases imports from France despite COVID-19
Transportation of Caspian oil via Baku-Supsa pipeline increases
Tbilisi’s residential property sales marginally down in October
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan holding negotiations on possible gas supplies
Kazakhstan to build desalination plants in Mangystau region
Iran to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of Anzali Wetland
Iran to distribute domestic COVID-19 vaccine by summer of 2021
Netanyahu met Saudi crown prince, Pompeo in Saudi Arabia on Sunday
Citizens of Russia and Ukraine will be able to return from Azerbaijan to their homeland
Lithuanian - Turkmen cooperation not affected by COVID-19
Rompetrol opens its flagship station in Georgian Borjomi
Lithuania interested in developing co-op with Turkmenistan in transport sector
Azerbaijan’s AzerGold to pay investor fee on placement of second tranche of bonds
Iran discloses number of licenses issued in Mazandaran Province
Fitch Ratings forecasts growing share of problem loans in Azerbaijan
Deputy minister talks tree-planting campaigns in liberated lands of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan boosts import of cars in 10M2020
Azerbaijan strengthens preventive measures related to coronavirus in justice system – Justice Ministry
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran surpasses 45,000
Gold, copper ores output decreases in volume in Kazakhstan
Iran eyes to link Persian Gulf with Caspian Sea via railway
Kazakhstan's revenue from maritime cargo transport increases
Azerbaijan aims to put Armenian ex-defense minister on int'l wanted list
Azerbaijan establishes Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Department of Justice Ministry
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender for transport services
Russian shipbuilding corporation plans to start construction of ships in Turkmenistan
Iran reveals forecast on employment for Lorestan province
Ambassador Manig: Germany will strengthen Council of Europe by focusing on initiatives enabling better protection of citizens (INTERVIEW)
Batch of new Hyundai buses delivered to Turkmenistan
Uzbek commodity exchange to buy tires via tender
Azerbaijan ramps up exports to CIS countries
Ceyhan terminal transships 188 million barrels of ACG oil
Iran discloses balance of bank loans
Azerbaijani State Fire Control Service begins work in liberated districts
Uzbekistan boosts grape exports to Russia in September
Uzbek chemical enterprise starts commissioning of new fertilizer plant
Uzbekistan’s Jizzax Organic to import cattle from Europe
Uzbek Jizzax Organic predicts increase of purebred sheep herds in Uzbekistan
Famous UK-based poetess of Azerbaijani origin appeals on Armenian ecological terror (VIDEO)
Volume of gold exports stops growing in Uzbekistan
All news