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The U.S. intelligence community in May completed a major National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that concluded the Iranian military is building up its missile and conventional forces but remains relatively outdated, U.S. officials have told The Washington Times.

Intelligence officials familiar with the estimate declined to disclose its details or even its key judgments to the Times, noting that the entire document is classified.

However, the officials told the paper that one of the strategic issues discussed in the estimate is whether Iranian military forces have the capability to follow through on threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipping in the event of a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran.

Twenty percent to 40 percent of the world’s oil passes through the strait, a pinched entryway to the Persian Gulf, and key ports for Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

That question was discussed earlier this month by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said the Iranian military could threaten the strait but could not keep it closed in response to U.S. and allied military action to reopen it, the Times noted.

The classified estimate is the first all-agency assessment related to Iran since the questionable estimate of Iran’s nuclear program made public in December, the Times reported.

That estimate stated that Iran had halted work on its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Senior U.S. intelligence officials later backtracked, stating that Iran continues to seek nuclear arms.


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