|Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, hailed|
the NIE report as a positive step [AFP]
It was one of three countries that George Bush, the US president, branded as the axis of evil. Iran has been at odds with the US since the Islamic revolution back in 1979.
The confrontation, though, reached a whole new level after Tehran unveiled plans to enrich uranium for what it says is a peaceful nuclear programme. Washington did not buy this argument and insists Tehran is pursuing a secretive nuclear weapons programme and keeps warning that any such activities must not be allowed.
But in early December a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran said the country suspended its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. The report was a stark reversal of previous intelligence assessments that Iran was actively moving toward a bomb.
Official US foreign policy on Iran has been based on a 2005 estimate which said Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons and progressing in that direction. Yet, Bush keeps talking about Iran as a threat to world security, warning of what he called a third world war.
So are the two countries heading towards more confrontation?
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Source: Al Jazeera