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U.S.: Iran still not on ‘verge’ of weapon

JTA

August 10, 2012 | 11:07 am

Israeli protesters hold a banner to call on Israel not to bomb Iran during a demonstration calling for social justice in Tel Aviv on Aug. 4. Photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israeli protesters hold a banner to call on Israel not to bomb Iran during a demonstration calling for social justice in Tel Aviv on Aug. 4. Photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The U.S. assessment remains that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon, a U.S. official said, apparently pushing back against claims to the contrary by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

“We believe that there is time and space to continue to pursue a diplomatic path, backed by growing international pressure on the Iranian government,” Reuters quoted a National Security Council spokesman as saying. “We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon.”

The report Thursday came after Barak affirmed in an interview on Israel Radio a report in Ha’aretz that a new U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear capability was closer to Israel’s assessment that a weapon was imminent.

The assessment Barak claimed was circulating among top U.S. officials “comes very close to our own estimate, I would say, as opposed to earlier American estimates. It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one and it is even less likely that we will know every development in time on the Iranian nuclear program.”

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