U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday claimed that Iran is “a year or more away” from building a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. intelligence assessments of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Obama made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press.
He added, “And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services."
Israel has been using alarmist rhetoric and ha said for several years that Iran is just months away from being able to build a nuclear weapon.
However, Obama and the Israelis certainly know that the International Atomic Energy Agency has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
In addition, they also know that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, Iran has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Obama also said the world must “test” whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is serious about resolving the nuclear dispute diplomatically.
In response to a question about Israel’s increasing concerns over U.S.-Iran rapprochement, he acknowledged that “… we share a lot of intelligence with Israelis,” adding that if he were Israel’s leader, he’d “be very wary as well of any kind of talk from the Iranians.”
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Saturday he supported President Hassan Rouhani’s diplomatic opening to the United States at the UN General Assembly but some aspects of it were “not proper”.
While in New York to attend the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in the last week of September, Rouhani noted that the atmosphere between Iran and the United States had changed and said his goal is to solve problems and pursue “the shared interest between the two nations.” He also spoke over the phone with Obama in the first contact between leaders of the two countries since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which met with some skepticism inside Iran due to fact that the U.S. has a history of reneging on its promises.
The next round of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany) is scheduled to be held in Geneva on October 15 and 16.
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