Iran has drawn back from its ambitions to build a nuclear weapon, Israel’s defense minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday, while warning that his country may still have to decide next year whether to launch a military strike against it.
Tehran denies its nuclear work has any military dimensions but governments in Europe and the United States are increasingly concerned over its intentions.
Diplomacy and successive rounds of economic sanctions have so far failed to end the decade-old row, raising fears of Israeli military action against its arch-enemy.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that an immediate crisis was avoided when Iran chose to use more than a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes earlier this year.
He told the paper that the decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months”.
“There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer,” he said.
“It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) ‘oh we comply with our commitments’.”
Analysts say Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs if it were refined to a high degree, but may still be a few years away from being able to assemble a missile if it decided to go down that path.
Read more here from REUTERS.