U.S. intelligence agencies believe that recent technical problems have slowed Iran’s nuclear progress by two years or more, Reuters reports.
In addition, the agencies assess, Iran’s leaders have not yet made the decision to make a nuclear bomb, though they are pursuing the knowledge and equipment to be able to do so.
The reported assessments come ahead of the next round of international Iran nuclear talks scheduled to take place in Turkey next week.
"We've got more time than we thought," former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden told Reuters, adding that the “key decision point” for possible military action against Iran has been effectively postponed “until the next presidential term.”
The U.S. judgment echoes one made by outgoing Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who told an Israeli Knesset committee last week that Iran would not have nuclear capability before 2015.
Dagan said that “Iran was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of failures that had set its program back by several years,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
"Even if [the Iranians] choose to do the wrong thing and proceed toward nuclear weapons, it's unclear that they could do so quickly,” a current U.S. official working on the issue told Reuters. “While they've got a lot of knowledge, putting it into practice is a whole different ball game."
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