First Published: 2012-08-11

 

White House: We have eyes inside Iran nuclear program

 

US says it has ‘visibility’ inside Iran's nuclear program, will know if Tehran has made ‘breakout’ move toward acquiring nuclear weapon.

 

Middle East Online

Closely watched

WASHINGTON - The United States said Friday it had "eyes" and "visibility" inside Iran's nuclear program and would know if Tehran had made a "breakout" move toward acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The comment by White House spokesman Jay Carney followed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's remark that new US intelligence suggested that the threat from Iran was becoming more "urgent."

Carney declined to comment on intelligence matters in detail but said that Washington and Israel were agreed on Iran's ambitions and its nuclear program.

"I would also say that we have eyes -- we have visibility into the program, and we would know if and when Iran made what's called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon."

Breakout capability is commonly understood to be the point when a state acquires the knowledge, capability and materials to build a nuclear bomb if it wants to.

Carney said later in his briefing that he was referring to International Atomic Energy Agency officials mandated to inspect Iran's nuclear sites because Tehran is a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But many experts believe there has been substantial infiltration and sabotage of Iran's nuclear program by Western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Military sites in Iran that do not have confirmed nuclear activities are off-limits to inspectors unless provided for by agreement or under the terms of an Additional Protocol to the NPT that Iran dropped in 2006.

Carney's comments came on a day on which speculation about a possible military strike on Iran's nuclear program ran rampant in the Israeli press.

The White House spokesman said however that Washington still believed that "there is time and space to pursue the diplomatic option that includes extremely and increasingly aggressive sanctions."

The United States has however said it has not taken a military option off the table.

A series of visits by high-ranking US defense officials to Israel has raised speculation that Washington is trying to dissuade Israel from a preemptive military attack.

In an interview on Thursday, Barak said a recent US intelligence report made the Iranian issue more "urgent" and had moved closer to the US position.

The United States has not said publicly if it has changed its intelligence assessment on the state of Iran's nuclear program.

 

Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Saudi calls for cooperation between OPEC, non-OPEC countries

The changing faces of al-Qaeda in Syria

Yemen releases budget for first time in three years

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'