Iran would take a year or more to build a nuclear weapon and the US was prepared to do everything possible to prevent it, US President Barack Obama has told Israeli television.
Obama will head for Israel next Wednesday and has sought to address an issue of great importance to that country, with its leadership seeking immediate action.
“Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close,” he said.
“So when I’m consulting with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: ‘If we can resolve it diplomatically, that is a more lasting solution. But if not, I continue to keep all options on the table.’”
The interview was aired in Israel on Thursday.
Netanyahu has been pressing for immediate action if the world was serious in preventing Iran from going nuclear. But the US and the West want to keep the window for talks open.
But that window is not going to be available forever.
“What I have also said is that there is a window, not an infinite period of time, but a window of time where we can resolve this diplomatically,” Obama said.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it has no intentions of weaponising it, and it has reduced its stockpile of nuclear material as proof of its intent.