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This did not distract from the march to war with Iraq, but a few months later Iran was declared in material breach of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and, under threat of heightened sanctions, a process of negotiations began between Iran and the European Union to limit the nascent enrichment program. At the time Iran had only 160 of the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium, and thousands would be required to get it to the point where it could produce fissile material for a bomb. intelligence estimates eventually concluded “with high confidence” that the Iranians also had a secret nuclear weapons program, in addition to enrichment, but shut it down in the fall of 2003.
During his presidency, a period in which Rafsanjani is described by western media sources as having been the most powerful figure in Iran, people ordered executed by the judicial system of Iran included political dissidents, drug offenders, Communists, Kurds, Bahais, and even Islamic clerics.