Iran now 'willing' to carry out attacks on US soil
IRAN is actively willing to stage attacks inside the United States in a change of its policy on use of force overseas, America's leading intelligence official warned yesterday.
Relations between Iran and the West have suffered a sharp deterioration as Tehran accuses foreign agents of waging a campaign of sabotage against its nuclear programme.
James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, said a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington demonstrated that Iran had taken a new tack as it sought to respond to convert threats.
It "shows that some Iranian officials, probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime," he said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will be briefed on America's overall intelligence assessment on Iran today.
Mr Clapper said that, while Tehran was "keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons", Washington officials concluded "we do not know" the outcome of the programme.
Meanwhile, Iranian opposition activists raised fears over the vulnerability of the country's nuclear facilities to attack yesterday, claiming an F-14 fighter jet was shot down by its own air defence systems during a suicide attack on the Bushehr atomic reactor.
The pilot and co-pilot were killed last week when the aircraft crashed shortly after take-off. State media said it had suffered a mechanical failure, but an opposition website said it was shot down.
There was speculation in the military that the pilots had attempted to attack the Bushehr plant. (©Daily Telegraph, London)