WASHINGTON – Iran's demand that it be allowed to make an exception in its commitment to freeze all uranium enrichment (search) activities so it can operate about two dozen centrifuges (search) likely comes as no surprise to the Bush administration, which has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of an atomic energy program.
In fact, Iran's request comes just as a new CIA report details how Tehran is continuing to pursue programs to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
The annual report submitted to Congress reveals that Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Iran denies it is involved in a nuclear buildup but says it is developing a civilian nuclear energy program.
The CIA reports that Iran received significant help in pursuing its nuclear ambitions from Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan (search), the father of Pakistan's nuclear program. The agency says Khan's network provided Iran with nuclear enrichment technology, complete with designs for "Pakistan's old centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models and components."
The report, which appears on the CIA's Web site, does not say if Khan's network sold plans for nuclear warheads to Iran.
Over the weekend, President Bush attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (search) summit in Santiago, Chile. He talked to the 21 Pacific Rim leaders and discussed how the United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Bush said the global War on Terror is being waged successfully in exposing threats, thwarting attacks and breaking up terror networks.
"And over the past years we've had notable successes — most particularly, the disruption of the A.Q. Khan network and its willingness and capacity to spread deadly technology," Bush said at the Chile summit.
The CIA report also indicates that it remains concerned about Al Qaeda's ambition for using and acquiring nuclear weapons. The agency is still trying to determine whether Khan provided any assistance to the terror network and what role he may have played in providing help to North Korea's nuclear buildup.
FOX News' Kelly Wright contributed to this report.