US Defense Secretary says that Iran is not close to having a nuclear weapon, contradicting recent comments made by a US military official.
“They’re not close to a stockpile, they’re not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time,” Robert Gates said Sunday on NBC.
This is while earlier in the day, head of the US military Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in an interview with CNN had stated that Iran had enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb. “We think they do, quite frankly.”
Compared with recent comments by Mullen, Gates’ comments indicate a much more positive approach towards Iran’s nuclear program, which according to Tehran is designed purely for the civilian and peaceful applications of the technology.
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Gates looked very cautious on the issue and said, “I think that there has been a continuing focus on how do you get the Iranians to walk away from a nuclear weapons program? They’re not close to a stockpile. They’re not close to a weapon at this point. And so, there is some time.”
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US President Barack Obama’s administration claims to be favoring diplomatic engagement with Tehran to defuse the dispute over its nuclear program.
A UN nuclear watchdog official downplayed a report by a Capitol Hill-based institute claiming Iran has a ‘break-out capacity’ to build a bomb in late February think they’re not there yet,” said the UN nuclear official speaking on condition of anonymity. He also pointed out that the Iranian enrichment program is ‘under surveillance at all times’.