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US General Snubs Israeli Intel on Iran

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29 Mar 09 | Press TV

A top US commander says Iran is years away from having highly enriched uranium after Israel claimed Iran could build a bomb within a year.

“The bottom line: we think it’s a couple of years away in that regard. It could be more, could be a little bit less,” General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, said in a Sunday interview on CNN.

Gen. Petraeus said there were “a lot of facts” that the US is unaware of about Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran says the only objective of its program is to make use of the civilian applications of nuclear technology. Israel and the US, however, accuse the country of having military intentions in its pursuit.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to militarily take out Iranian nuclear infrastructure based on the claim that Tehran and its program pose an “existential threat” to Tel Aviv.

Uranium, the fuel for a nuclear power plant, can serve in military purposes if enriched to high levels of above 90 percent.

According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency figures, however Iran has produced nearly 1,010 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) — a level “less than 5 percent.”

In the interview, Petraeus said that for Iran to pose a threat to Israel, Tehran must have enough highly enriched uranium, must make a warhead and have long-range missiles capable of delivering them, AFP reported.

In Israel, however, officials claim that Iran has crossed a threshold in developing nuclear bombs.

Director of Israeli military intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin said last week that Iran would have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb within a year but was not rushing into production.

“The Iranian strategy is not to get a nuclear bomb as soon as they can so as not to give the world a reason to act against them,” Yadlin told the Israeli parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.

The recent development comes as Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government is expected to clash with the administration of President Barack Obama — who seeks a “new beginning” with Iran.


Written by Editors

29 March 2009 at 3:50 pm

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