In recent testimony before Congress, James Clapper, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said that the U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Iran is developing various nuclear capabilities that will put it in a position to manufacture a nuclear weapon, but that Iranian authorities have yet to make the decision to do so.
David Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, also testified before Congress. He noted that regime survival is the top priority of Iran’s leaders and affects all their calculations, including whether or not to build a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Petraeus said that the recent, tough sanctions imposed on Iran by several countries -- including new sanctions targeting Iranian energy and financial sectors –- are starting to have a serious effect on Iran’s economy:
“The Iranian currency has lost considerable value recently. There are runs on the bank in recent weeks that have been seen as the Iranian citizenry tries to get its money out of their own domestic currency and into anything that will hold its value better as inflation also takes off. ... The overall situation is one in which the sanctions have been biting much, much more, literally, in recent weeks than they have until this time."
President Barack Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; but that if Iran changes course, abandons its nuclear weapons ambitions, and lives up to its international obligations, it will be welcomed back into the community of nations.