A top US spy agency has reiterated allegations that Iran intends to produce a nuclear weapon, with the CIA director warning Tehran of “tremendous costs and consequences” if it moves in that direction.
"I think they realize that there's going to be tremendous costs and consequences and implications if they were to decide to go for a breakout,” John Brennan said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
"There are a number of things that the United States has available to it to prevent Iran from getting a bomb,” he said. "So if they decide to go down that route, they know that they will do so at their peril.”
Brennan’s provocative comments come as negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – have reported progress ahead of a July 1 deadline for a comprehensive agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.
On Friday, the sixth day of the latest round of negotiations in the Swiss city of Lausanne, another meeting was held between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Following his talks with Kerry, Zarif said on Friday, “We made good progress over this week. We’ve done a lot of hard work, but some work remains ahead.”
On Saturday, Kerry said that "substantial progress" had been made toward a final accord.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its civilian nuclear program.
Washington and its allies have imposed illegal sanctions on Iran based on the unfounded accusation that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
Last month, Al Jazeera television network released a secret Mossad cable which revealed that Israel has been aware that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and does not include “the activity necessary to produce weapons.”
The Israeli spy agency’s top-secret cable, leaked on February 23, concluded that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”
A similar CIA report, leaked on February 20, disclosed that Washington tried to mislead the IAEA about Iran’s nuclear program through the provision of doctored evidence.