March 1st, 2009
10:25 AM ET
3 years ago

Mullen says Iran has material to make nuclear weapon

CNN

Watch Mullen run down the latest in Iran and North Korea.

(CNN) - Iran likely has enough material to make a nuclear weapon, Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN's John King Sunday.

“We think they do, quite frankly," Mullen said on State of The Union with John King.  "Iran having a nuclear weapon, I believe, for a long time, is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the world."

Earlier: Iran tests its first nuclear power plant

Tehran has denied pursuing nuclear weapons, and insists the country's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Mullen also said he is watching North Korea closely, although he also said he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have yet to make a recommendation on how to approach that country.

Earlier: N. Korea: Ready to launch satellite

"There has been no recommendations one way or another," he said. "There's a lot of focus on this and then recommendations and certainly policy discussions will come based on the timing and what North Korea does."


Filed under: Iran • Mike Mullen • State of the Union
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Frances

    No way! Maybe its a good thing for the world, but most certainly not for the region. A strong powerful and nuclear Iran would make that region of the world much stronger and potentially dangerous to the US... which is exactly what they want.

    March 1, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Johnny V

    And don't forget folks, Iran getting this close to nuclear capability happened on Bush's watch! This wouldn't have happened if Bush and the Republicans had been taking care of REAL threats instead of getting bogged down in a phony war.

    March 1, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Frances

    ...I don't really understand what the big deal is about Iran.... what did they do to make them so evil? Why can't they have nuclear weapons? No one yet has given me a concrete and logical reason why we should dislike them so much... they have a legitimate political system and increasing human rights, and they aren't hosting terrorists like Al Qaida in their country... so what's the big deal??? Seems like just a paranoid quest for world hegemony to me...

    March 1, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. michael

    Why the vagaries? "Stuff"? "Materials"? Tell us what they have...

    March 1, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Kevin

    No one should be surprised at Irans possibility of having neclear weapon capability's. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that any nuclear weapon program Iraq might have had might have made its way to Iran. If we go back to just before OIF started, all of a sudden Iraq sent some 1700 to 2000 so called remains of Iranian war dead from the Iran Iraq war. Was this a move out of the kindness of Sadam's Heart or was this a move to ship Iraq's nuclear weapon capability's out of Iraq under the guise of an out of the blue good will event that probably should have taken place years earlier if it truly is what happened. No one should be surprised that other nations want nuclear arms. Granted it may not be a good thing but there are ways to impose hardship on nations who harbor ill intentions.

    March 1, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Jason

    And I'm sure the same materials used to make a nuclear weapon have some other non-sinister uses. Doesn't nuclear power come from almost the same process as a nuclear explosion. Or does Iran not deserve nuclear power for its people because of their relationship to Israel?

    March 1, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. ken

    Just as Bush might have been too quick to go to War, Obama will be too quick to sit down and talk not realizing that when we're chit-chatting in one room, the Iranians are producing an atomic bomb capable of hitting forices in Iraq and our allies in Israel. Wake up Obama and start taking action before it's too late!!

    March 1, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. HereWeGo

    I'm sure with president B.O. and hillary sucking up to Asad of Syria and the other Mideast Maniacs, that its no big deal that they all get nukes... Besides, there won't be much af an America left for them to give a crap about after congress and the white house are done with us.

    March 1, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Richard Frank

    The entire population of this planet "is waiting to exhale". Sooner or later some madman will try to use a nuke.

    March 1, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. ismail Kostak

    So, what are you waiting for?
    Go and invade IRAN as you did for IRAK.
    If you can not find any nuke, it ain't matter. You will have billions of barrels of petrol.

    March 1, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Ok, here are the facts:

    1. Iran will eventually, if not already, have nuclear capability.

    2. There is nothing that the U.S. or the rest of the world can do about this.

    3. There is no justifications for keeping Iran from accuriring nucldear technology and use of nuclear energy.

    So, the only real course of action is to accept the reality, and add Iran to the list of the counties that have nuclear technology/ability to make/use unclear weapons. Iran will be the 10th nation to join this group that already includes the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All we can hope for is to have faith on our defense systema and pray that our own nuclear weapons can deter other nations from using theirs.

    March 1, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Okay... the stupid touch screen is just annoying now.

    March 1, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  13. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Ignore one Ant's-Nest. Then you have four more... All eight-feet-heigh...

    March 1, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. mo

    Ok, here are the facts:

    1. Iran will eventually, if not already, have nuclear capability.

    2. There is nothing that the U.S. or the rest of the world can do about this.

    3. There is no justifications for keeping Iran from accuriring nucldear technology and use of nuclear energy.

    So, the only real course of action is to accept the reality, and add Iran to the list of the counties that have nuclear technology/ability to make/use unclear weapons. Iran will be the 10th nation to join this group that already includes the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. All we can hope for is to have faith on our defense systema and pray that our own nuclear weapons can deter other nations from using theirs.

    March 1, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. JOE

    Somebody sober BUSH up and tell him.

    March 1, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. John

    US officials are saying a middle eastern country is making A-bomb materials?

    Haven't we been here before?

    March 1, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Alfred E Neumann

    Time for a "bunker buster" to earn it reputation. An Israeli air strike is long over due.

    March 1, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Greg Hodges

    While Iran is obviouly a problem; does anybody really think they are insane enough to really attack Israel?! Even they realize it would be nuclear suicide to do so.

    March 1, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Chris

    I have "stuff" to make an apple pie, but it doesn't mean I'm going to do it. In fact, I probably don't even like apple pie.

    If this is mean to justify murdering thousands of Iranians, the American citizens DO NOT support any force against Iran.

    March 1, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. John

    Iran isn't afraid of the U.S., the E.U., or the U.N.. We have no cards left after Bush and his idiotic "Axis of Evil" insults. What are we going to do now, flood news papers with cartoons filled with insults about their deity. Many nations in the world need Iran's oil, China needs Iran's oil, China has the USA by the short hairs, aka treasury bills. D.C. is packed with amateurs.

    March 1, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Lilly Rose

    We probably need to watch Iran closely, but please, no headlong rush into the country to occupy it. Our country cannot sustain too many more wars. As it is, the collapse of our economy, while only a pipe dream of our true enemies, was accomplished, in part, due to a needless war. We can't do this again.

    March 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. LDC

    Wait! CNN reporting that Iran may have nuclear weapon material? The Clinton News Network? Surely the Messiah won't let that happen.

    March 1, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. Juan Jimenez

    The only "bad outcome" for the region has been the decision to allow Israel to have nuclear weapons, allow it to refuse to sign the non-proliferation treaty and allow it to refuse to disclose the extent of its arsenal. This has created a cancerous sore in the region, and if anything, Iran obtaining a weapon would be a direct consequence of the United States' refusal to force Israel to behave like a civilized nation. You reap what you sow, and at this moment, no one can say what we will sow out of this, except to say that it won't be anything related to what the US or Israel "wants".

    March 1, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Kevin Morgan

    As long as we insist on refusing to acknowledge that Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons that are in violation of the non-proliferation treaty, Iran and the rest of the middle east are going to pursue having their own. Israel's illegal nukes are at the root of the middle east arms race, and the longer we avoid that being included in the debate, the further other nations will progress in their arming.

    March 1, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    ...and you still don't believe God spoke in the book of Ezekiel, Daniel, or Revlations!

    March 1, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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