NIE Report: Iran Shelved Nuke Weapons Program Years Ago

ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Luis Martinez and Kirit Radia Report: In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved it's nuclear weapons program over four years ago.

"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program," reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings.

"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009."

The new intelligence report could create an embarrassing situation for the United States as it pushes for a third United Nations resolution against Iran for its nuclear activities.

The entire NIE report will remain classified, however the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassifed version of the key findings that can be read HERE.

President Bush may speak about the new intelligence report findings in a press conference scheduled for Tuesday.

A senior U.S. official who has read the estimate told ABC News earlier this morning that the NIE concludes "there has been a halt when it comes to weaponization" of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The official adds: It's "an intentions judgment, not a capabilities judgment." In other words, the Iranians could restart this aspect of there program, but for whatever reason, they have halted it for now.

The Iranian government has admitted they are maintaining a nuclear enrichment program. IAEA reports confirm Iran continues to work on perfecting centrifuge technology that could be used to create highly enriched uranium that could eventually be used in a nuclear weapons program.

The finding that Iran shelved its nuclear weapons program in 2003 is based on new intelligence gathered this year. The NIE report was scheduled to be completed in the spring and sent to Congress, but was delayed because of the new information.

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