Following a prediction last year that Iran would enrich enough mid-level nuclear fuel to reach a “red line” by this summer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted on Monday that Tehran is making progress in that direction. Netanyahu, in a speech transcript released by the Israeli government, said the Iranians “haven’t crossed that line, but what they’re doing is to shorten the time that it will take them to cross that line.”
Specifically, Netanyahu pointed to Iran’s efforts to put in place “new, faster centrifuges” that will help them enrich uranium at a quicker pace. The Israeli leader warned last year that Iran was well on its way to developing enough mid-level nuclear fuel that could easily be upgraded to military-grade for a nuclear weapon.
On Monday, Netanyahu said Iran’s new uranium enrichment centrifuges will help them “cut the time by one third, so that Iran is putting itself in a position to cross the red line and have enough material to produce one nuclear bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium.”
In response, Netanyahu again called for the world to upgrade both their sanctions and their threats towards Iran. “You have to put greater pressure on them. You have to upgrade the sanctions,” said Netanyahu. “And they have to know that if the sanctions and diplomacy fails, they will face incredible military threat.
“That’s essential. Nothing else will do the job. And it’s getting closer.”
Israel isn’t the only group concerned about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. A report by The Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy warned that Iran could reach “critical capability”—being able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build at least one nuke by mid-2014.
Netanyahu noted in his speech that he intends to discuss the Iranian issue with US President Barack Obama when he visits Israel later this year.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 11, 2013)