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. Iran able to build nuclear bomb in year: Israel
JERUSALEM, March 25 (AFP) Mar 25, 2009
Iran will have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb within a year but is not rushing into production, the head of Israel's military intelligence claimed on Wednesday.

"The Iranian strategy is not to get a nuclear bomb as soon as they can so as not to give the world a reason to act against them," the director of Military Intelligence Major-General Amos Yadlin said.

MPs quoted Yadlin as telling parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee Iran is trying to rapidly acquire the capacity to build a bomb but is "enriching uranium in a rate meant to make it very hard to incriminate them."

The official said Iran already has 4,000 centrifuges in a facility monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency and should be able "within the next months, up to a year, to produce enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb."

But he stressed it was too early to conclude that the international campaign to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon has failed and that a mix of pressure and dialogue could still work.

Premier-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who should form a right-wing dominated government next week has claimed that Iran is "the gravest threat to our existence since (Israel's 1948) war of independence."

Israel and the United States accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons but Tehran says its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes.

US intelligence chief Dennis Blair warned earlier this month that it will be "difficult" to convince Iran to give up its suspected quest for nuclear weapons through diplomatic means.

Tehran might bow to a blend of "credible" incentives and "threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures" but "it is difficult to specify what such a combination might be," Blair told lawmakers in Washington.

"Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them," said Blair.

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