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US intel chief says no Iran nukes possible before 2013

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On Iran's nuclear program, Blair relied on the assessment of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) to say that Iran does not yet have the technical ability to produce the highly enriched uranium (HEU) it would need for a bomb.

"INR continues to assess it is unlikely that Iran will have the technical capability to produce HEU before 2013,'' the memo reads.
Blair said that if Iran decides to make highly enriched uranium that it would probably use "military-run covert facilities, rather than declared nuclear sites" and that "outfitting a covert enrichment infrastructure could take years. The (intelligence community) has no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium, and INR assesses that Iran is unlikely to make such a decision for at least as long as international scrutiny and pressure persist."

Why Iran backs the Taliban

Blair says in the report that Iran's "policy calculation in Afghanistan currently emphasizes lethal support to the Taliban, even though revelation of this activity could threaten its future relationship with the Afghan government and its historic allies within Afghanistan."

Iran is a Shiite theocracy and the Taliban is militant Sunni movement which views Shiites as apostates that should be executed. Blair says Iran has made uneasy common cause with them because "Iran is primarily concerned with preserving its national security and undermining Western influence in Afghanistan."

Similarly, Blair says that Iran has been a provider of "training, weapons, and money to Hamas since the 2006 Palestinian elections." Hamas is the Islamist (Sunni) Palestinian movement that now controls the Gaza strip.

Here's a summary from other bits the memo that caught my eye.

Al Qaeda's 20-year plan

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