Netanyahu: Centrifuges in Iran could speed up development of nuclear weapons
Israeli Prime Minister says Iran's 'nuclear weapons program continues unabated'
New centrifuges in Iran, ostensibly for its uranium enrichment program, could cut the time by a third needed to create a nuclear bomb. That's the latest news that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared with American Jewish leaders this week.
Netanyahu gave a rough deadline of summer this year as the date which Iran could have enough highly enriched material to produce a single nuclear bomb in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly late last year.
The movie is seen by many in the world community of Iran's defiance of international demands. There had been calls to scale back Iran's uranium enrichment program which Tehran says is for civilian purposes. The material produced could also be used for atomic bombs.
Netanyahu's words came ahead of a planned visit to Israel next month by President Barack Obama.
"Iran's ... nuclear weapons program continues unabated ... I drew a line at the U.N. last time I was there," Netanyahu said. "They haven't crossed that line but what they are doing is to shorten the time that it will take them to cross that line and the way they are (doing it) is by putting in new, faster centrifuges that cut the time by one third."
Netanyahu gave a rough deadline of summer this year as the date which Iran could have enough highly enriched material to produce a single nuclear bomb in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly late last year. He now says that world powers must put more pressure on Tehran "for the interests of peace and security.
"You have to upgrade the sanctions and they have to know that if the sanctions and diplomacy fail, they will face a credible military threat. That's essential. Nothing else will do the job, and it's getting closer," he said.
Iran may have resumed converting small amounts of its higher-grade enriched uranium into reactor fuel, thereby slowing a growth in stockpiles that could be used to make weapons.
Obama plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring with no exact dates for the trip. It will be Obama's first trip to Israel since taking office.
Netanyahu, who has five more weeks to complete forming his new coalition, said that Iran would top his administration's agenda.
Israel's Channel 10 television cited unnamed sources in Washington last week saying Obama's visit to Israel would start on March 20, by when Netanyahu's new government should be in place.
Some theorize that Obama has decided to visit Israel before Netanyahu's summer deadline to caution him against any go-it-alone attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.
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