US persuades Israel to hold back strikes on Iran`s Nuke facility

The US has told Israel that it would take Iran a year or longer to build nuclear weapons, thus dimming the prospects of a pre-emptive strike on Tehran`s nuclear arsenal.

Last Updated: Aug 20, 2010, 18:00 PM IST

Washington: The US has told Israel that it
would take Iran a year or longer to build nuclear weapons,
thus dimming the prospects of a pre-emptive strike on Tehran`s
nuclear arsenal.

While Israeli intelligence say that Iran could complete
its race for a nuclear bomb in months, the American
intelligence have come to believe that the time line is
longer.

"We think they have roughly a year `dash time`", President
Barack Obama`s top advisor on nuclear issues Gary Samore was
quoted as saying by `The New York Times`.

Samore said, the US believed that international
inspectors would detect an Iranian move towards breakout
within weeks, leaving considerable time for the US and Israel
to consider military strike.

Israel has hinted that it may attack Iranian nuclear
facilities, the moment it suspects that Tehran is on the verge
of a nuclear bomb.

The US assessment, Times said was based on intelligence
collected over the past year as well as reports from
international inspectors.

Quoting US intelligence sources, the paper said it was
unclear were Iran was facing the problems. "It could be poor
centrifuge design, difficulty obtaining components or
accelerating western efforts to stop the nuclear programme".

"The hardest element of producing a weapon is obtaining
weapons grade material. And for Iran, that quest which
stretches back more than 20 years, has not been going well",
the sources told the paper.

American officials say that Iranian`s centrifuges are
inefficient and subject to regular breakdowns. It was for this
reasons that Iranian officials are looking for more advanced
models.

But, nevertheless, Times said officials believe Iran has
produced about 5,730 pounds of enriched uranium enough to
produce roughly two weapons.

Even, as for the moment, Washington may have persuaded
Tel Aviv that Iran`s nuclear weapons ambitions have been
pushed back, the paper it does not mean that Israel has
abandoned the option of military strike.

PTI