FULL INTERVIEW: Vice President Dick Cheney

RADDATZ: Can you foresee any point where military action would be taken? I ask you this because when you come over here, people in the region start thinking you're over here to plan some sort of military action.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I suppose that's because of my past history.

RADDATZ: Yes, it is. So what would you like to say about that, and Iran?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the important thing to keep in mind is the objective that we share with many of our friends in the region, and that is that a nuclear-armed Iran would be very destabilizing for the entire area.

RADDATZ: Do you believe the National Intelligence Estimate, that says they shut down their nuclear program or intentions five years ago?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think it's been -- it's important if you're going to look at the National International Estimate that we be precise in terms of what it says. And what it says is that they have definitely had in the past a program to develop a nuclear warhead; that it would appear that they stopped that weaponization process in 2003. We don't know whether or not they've restarted.

What we do know is that they had then, and have now, a process by which they're trying to enrich uranium, which is the key obstacle they've got to overcome in order to have a nuclear weapon. They've been working at it for years. They've now got a large number of centrifuges operating. We know this from the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

RADDATZ: But do you have high confidence they halted their nuclear weapons program in 2003?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I have high confidence they have an ongoing enrichment program.

RADDATZ: But not high confidence they halted it?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: The enrichment program? They've never halted enrichment --

RADDATZ: The nuclear weapons program.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, just go back and look at the National Intelligence Estimate.

RADDATZ: It says high confidence they halted their nuclear weapons program in 2003.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And high confidence that they had a nuclear weapons program.

RADDATZ: Right. But I'm specifically asking if you have high confidence, yourself, when you read that intelligence that that in fact happened in 2003?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think it's important, again, to be precise, in terms of what we're talking about.

RADDATZ: I'm trying to be precise.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: A nuclear weapons program involves really two categories of activity. One is developing fissile material, something that will blow up and give a nuclear yield. That process was ongoing before the NIE, it's been ongoing since the NIE, it's ongoing today. They are today running centrifuges to enrich uranium to produce a weapon.

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