Al-Qaida is the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States, said Michael McConnell, U.S. Director of National Intelligence. But Iran, said Mr. McConnell, also remains a threat to regional stability and to U.S. interests throughout the Middle East:
This is because of its continued support for violent groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and its efforts to undercut pro-Western actors such as those in Lebanon. In testimony before the U.S. Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. McConnell said that Iran's nuclear program also remains a matter of grave concern:
There are three parts to an effective nuclear weapons capability. First is the production of fissile material; second, effective means for weapons delivery, such as ballistic missile systems; and thirdly, is the design and weaponization of the warhead itself. . . . Production of fissile material is the most difficult challenge in the nuclear weapons production cycle.
Iran's uranium-enrichment efforts will enable it to continue production of fissile material, said Michael McConnell, U.S. Director of National Intelligence. In addition, he said, Iran continues its effort to perfect ballistic missiles. Therefore, said Mr. McConnell, the U.S. remains concerned about Iran as a potential nuclear weapons threat.