Saturday, May 20, 2006

Democrats Ask Bush for Iran Intel Update

Yahoo News:
Senate Democrats, saying they want to "avoid repeating mistakes made in the run-up to the conflict in Iraq," sent President Bush a letter Friday urging him to direct the nation's intelligence agencies to prepare an updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

"We must have objective intelligence untainted by political considerations or policy preferences and a comprehensive debate in the Congress about the best short and long-term approaches to resolving the international community's differences with Iran," the Democrats' letter said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, has accused Iran of failing to answer questions about its nuclear program. In late March, it reported Tehran to the Security Council and gave it one month to address the demands.

The Bush administration has been at the forefront in sounding a warning about Iran's nuclear abilities and potential ambitions.

The Democrats, while wary of a repeat of the Bush administration's warnings about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which turned out not to exist, stressed in their letter that they, like the administration, are seriously concerned about Iran's intentions.

"An Iranian nuclear weapons program would be a significant threat to international peace and security," they wrote to Bush. READ MORE

"Iran's refusal to conclusively explain or halt its uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities and its acquisition of ballistic missiles, coupled with the troubling rhetoric of its president, presents serious challenges to security in the Middle East and requires the United States to energetically pursue a diplomatic solution.

"The international community must not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran must know that it ultimately will not succeed in undermining international peace and stability," said the letter.

The letter was signed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois, Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Armed Services Committee ranking member Carl Levin of Michigan and Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Joe Biden of Delaware.