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Years Of Drone Flights Find No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program

Moon of Alabama | December 8, 2011

The officials say the RQ-170 Sentinel drone that went down over Iran was part of a fleet of secret aircraft that enabled the CIA to carry out dozens of high-altitude surveillance flights deep into Iranian territory without being detected.A former senior Defense Department official said the stealth drone flights had been underway for “at least four years,” …

The CIA is thought to have a dozen or so of the batwing-shaped, radar-evading aircraft, which are capable of being fitted with different “sensor payloads,” meaning they can be equipped to capture a range of intelligence material, including high-resolution images, radiation measurements and air samples.
WaPo, Dec 8 2011

One important point seems to get lost in the reports on the U.S. stealth drone Iran managed to obtain.

Despite such espionage by flying sophisticated spy drones over Iran “for at least four years” those flights have not found any hint of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Then National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told Congress in 2009 that Iran had not made the decision restart an alleged nuclear weapons program:

But as for the nuclear weapons program, the current position is the same, that Iran has stopped its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities in 2003 and did not — has not started them again …

U.S. spy drones had been flying over Iran for some two years when that statement was made.

In February 2011 the current National Intelligence director James Clapper gave a similar testimony (pdf) at a Congress hearing:

We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

When that statement was made radiation sniffing and air sampling spy drones had been flying over Iran for some three and a half years. Obviously they had not detected anything the intelligence community identified as a nuclear weapons program. Otherwise Clapper’s statement would not hold.

That is the real important point to take from this drone brouhaha. Despite using them for years in highly sophisticated espionage on Iran no sign of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been found.

December 8, 2011 - Posted by | Aletho News

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