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.

 

Britain wants ‘strategic partnership’ with GCC

Egypt’s 'three-year strategy' seeks to revive struggling economy

Syria forces take control of Aleppo Old City

Over 40 people missing after ship sinks off Yemen

Qatar to invest up to $13bn on 'mega projects' in 2017

Libya's key oil region threatened by renewed fighting

Syria rebels call for Aleppo ceasefire

Rebel rockets scar west Aleppo residents

Egypt jails prominent NGO activist

Turkish soldier killed in Syria bomb blast

IS-linked group ousted from Somalia town

Kerry, Lavrov to resume Syria talks Wednesday

Iraqis swarm to remarry after liberation from ‘caliphate’

Four drown, 34 rescued off Morocco coast

Israel to vote on bill to legalise West Bank settlements

Turkish businessmen embrace Erdogan’s plan to boost lira

Battle for Mosul advances deeper into city

Iran to sign deal with Shell in bid to boost output

Israeli missiles strike targets outside Damascus

Hollande condemns Russia’s ‘systematic obstruction’ of Syria ceasefire

Turkey doing 'everything possible' to push Syria talks between Russia, opposition

Russia army colonel dies after Aleppo rebel shelling

Libyan forces hunt remaining jihadists in Sirte

Iraqi jailed in Sweden for war crimes after Facebook post

Regime forces seize five Aleppo districts from rebels

Israeli artist erects golden Netanyahu statue in protest

Russia says US stalling on Aleppo rebel pullout

Saudi sentences 15 to death for being Iranian spies

US defence secretary says Mosul battle could end before Trump

US, NATO stress 'unity' as Trump raises doubts

Greece to extradite three Turkish coup officers

Egypt arrests 25 human organ traffickers

Morocco PM statement on Russia’s ‘destructive’ role in Syria angers Moscow

Israel far right hails bill to 'legalise' settler homes

Merkel says Aleppo situation ‘disgrace’

Iranian president says sanctions renewal proves US still ‘enemy’

Yemen arrests eight IS suspects in Aden

Turkey arrests opposition advisor over alleged Gulen links

Russia says OPEC, non-OPEC countries to meet in Vienna

British PM joins GCC summit for trade talks

Israel government nears deal that could 'legalise' settler homes

Yemen's Hadi would only give way to 'elected' leader

Russia says medic killed, others injured in Aleppo fighting

Greek court rejects extradition of Turkey officers

Sudan court frees 26 protesters