Panetta: Iran is one year away from producing nuclear weapon

U.S. Defense Secretary tells CBS that the U.S. does not want Iran to develop a nuclear bomb, and that it ‘shares common goals with Israel’.

By HaaretzTags: Iran Iran US Iran nuclear Israel US UN IAEA

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sunday that Iran is only one year away from producing a nuclear weapon.

In an interview on the CBS show „60 Minutes,” Panetta said that “the consensus is that, if they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.”

During the interview, Panetta reiterated Obama’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, and said that the U.S. shares common goals with Israel in its opposition to the program.

„The United States, and the president’s made this clear, does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us. And it’s a red line obviously for the Israelis so we share a common goal here,” he told CBS.

„If they proceed and we get intelligence that they’re proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps are necessary to stop it,” he added.

A six-member delegation of inspectors from the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Tehran on Sunday, according to an Iranian state television report.

Earlier, sources close to the Vienna-based IAEA said the visit would not involve inspections of nuclear facilities but would rather focus on resuming talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.