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Israel warns Iran could have nuclear bomb by year-end
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20:45, June 01, 2009

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Iran could have enough fissile material for its first nuclear bomb by the end of this year, an Israeli intelligence official warned Monday.

Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, head of the research division of Israel's Military Intelligence, made the remarks to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of Israel's Knesset (parliament).

"Iran is extremely troubling because of its speed. It has missiles which could reach Israel. The Iranian clock precedes the international dialogue clock," Baidatz was quoted by local news service Ynet as saying.

The United States and Israel have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, but Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Since taking office in January, U.S. President Barack Obama has made some diplomatic overtures to Iran that has so far been rebuffed. Obama said in May he would not pursue this policy indefinitely and would like to see some progress on the nuclear issue by the end of this year.

On May 25, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that new diplomatic overtures made by the United States to Iran were unlikely to halt the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

"I believe that the chance the dialogue has of stopping Iran's nuclear efforts is very low," Barak was quoted by Israel Radio as saying.

He added that Iran posed one of the most "serious potential threats" against Israel, reiterating that the Jewish state would not take any option off the table regarding Iran's nuclear program.

Source: Xinhua

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