THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it's important to be precise in terms of what it means, and it's important to put it in the broader context of what we've been dealing with in Iran. The reality is that if you go back to a few years ago, Iran had two programs. They had one program to enrich uranium that was headquartered in Natanz, that was covert until it was disclosed in about 2002, if you remember, by political opposition figures inside Iran. And Iran at that point acknowledged, yes, they do have an enrichment program at Natanz. And after that it was subject to IAEA inspection.
They had a separate program, we now know, based in part on the latest NIE -- the covert program that was aimed at the weaponization of fissile material for the creation of a nuclear weapon. What the NIE shows is that in about 2003, they, in effect, halted both those programs. You may remember that the then-public one about the enrichment efforts was suspended, and we know from intelligence now that the covert one that dealt with weaponization was also suspended about that same time.
In January of '06, they resumed their enrichment activities at Natanz, and have continued to pursue those very aggressively. Much of what we've said as an administration, and what we've done diplomatically and so forth, has been aimed at that enrichment program, in terms of getting -- trying to persuade the Iranians to give up their efforts to enrich uranium. That's unaffected by the NIE. The NIE doesn't deal with that. In fact, in the -- what we released by way of the key judgments, there's a footnote at the bottom of the first page that makes that distinction between, on the one hand, the covert weaponization program that they did halt in '03, and the now overt enrichment effort at Natanz.
I look at the concerns that we've had with respect to their enrichment
activities, and I'm still concerned. As the President said ye
|SOURCE White House Press Office|
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