Iran closer to attaining nuclear weapon than previously thought, new intelligence reveals


New intelligence information obtained by Israel and four Western countries indicates that Iran has made greater progress on developing nuclear weapons than the West had previously realized, according to Western diplomats and Israeli officials who are closely involved in efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

A Western diplomat who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence information said the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Israel agree on that assessment.

According to the source, this assessment began to take shape in February, when Iran refused to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the base at Parchin, where it is believed Iran is carrying out part of the research and development of its military nuclear program. Visits of IAEA inspectors in Iran, and especially revelations of information the Iranians had been trying to hide, intensified suspicions that Tehran was developing nuclear weapons at a faster pace than it had previously seemed.

Read more at haaretz.com.

Netanyahu: No sign Iran will stop nuclear weapons path


Nothing suggests that Iran is ready to stop its nuclear weapons program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said ahead of talks between Iran and a U.S.-led negotiating coalition.

“Nothing would be better than to see this issue resolved diplomatically,” Netanyahu said Friday during a state visit to the Czech Republic. “But I have seen no evidence that Iran is serious about stopping its nuclear weapons program. It looks as though they see these talks as another opportunity to deceive and delay just like North Korea did for years.”

Representatives from Iran and six major powers—the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France—are scheduled to meet in Baghdad on May 23 to discuss an outline of a deal that would relieve Iran’s isolation in exchange for more transparency about and international access to its nuclear program. Iran insists its program is peaceful.

The Obama administration has been pressing Israel not to go ahead with a military strike while it seeks to end the crisis through sanctions and diplomacy.

In his statement, Netanyahu laid out Israel’s goal for negotiations: Freeze all uranium enrichment inside Iran, remove all enriched material outside of Iran and dismantle an enrichment facility at Qom.