The U.S. intelligence community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment removed Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the list of terror threats to the United States.
The annual assessment of the intelligence community, which is released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, led by General James Clapper, backed away from years of precedent when the decision was made to remove Iran and Hezbollah from the terrorism threats list, The Times of Israel reports.
Outside of the politically correct verbiage and categorization issues (such as replacing the term “jihadist” with “violent extremist”), the report reveals that the intelligence community believes Tehran presents a persistent, significant threat to the United States.
The report reveals that Iran presents a significant threat to the United States: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is an ongoing threat to US national interests because of its support to the Assad regime in Syria, promulgation of anti-Israeli policies, development of advanced military capabilities, and pursuit of its nuclear program.”
With regard to Iran’s WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) program, the report states: “We continue to assess that Iran’s overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige and regional influence have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons.”
“Iran does not face any insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon,” the Worldwide Threats Assessment adds.
The assessment on Iran’s WMD program ends with a startling conclusion about Iran’s ballistic missile advances. The report adds:
We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them. Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Iran’s progress on space launch vehicles—along with its desire to deter the United States and its allies—provides Tehran with the means and motivation to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
In the cyber realm, the DNI Threat Assessment warns that Iran has “undertaken offensive cyber operations against private sector targets to support their economic and foreign policy objectives.”
Although the intelligence community report confusingly removed Iran from its list of terrorism threats, Iran’s intentions and capabilities are still presented as one of the foremost threats to the United States.