In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last September, Netanyahu said the international community would have until mid-2013 to stop Iran from producing a bomb. He said in a television interview this month that Iran has already produced 170 kilograms of the 250 kilograms of enriched uranium needed to be capable of building a bomb. He said his assessment was based on figures from the U.N. nuclear agency.
In Iran, an influential former president appeared to be trying to lower tensions with Israel, saying that his country is not at war with the Jewish state, Iranian media reported. It was the latest departure by a high-profile politician from the strident anti-Israel line traditionally taken by senior Iranian leaders.
The remarks by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani follow calls from figures across his nation’s political spectrum to repair the damage to Iran’s international reputation, blaming outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called Israel a doomed state and questioned the extent of the Holocaust.
Several of the critics, including Rafsanjani, are considered possible contenders in June elections to succeed Ahmadinejad.
“We are not at war with Israel,” said the ex-president, quoted by several Iranian newspapers including the pro-reform Shargh daily. He said Iran would not initiate war against Israel, but “if Arab nations wage a war, then we would help.”
Netanyahu’s comments about Iran came in contrast to those of Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a retired head of IDF Military Intelligence, who last week said Iran had essentially crossed the “red line” set by Israel regarding its nuclear activity.
Speaking at a security conference in Tel Aviv, Yadlin said that “for all intents and purposes, Iran has crossed Israel’s red line… In the summer, Iran will be a month or two away from deciding about a bomb.”
After his speech at the UN, Netanyahu clarified that Iran’s enrichment activities must stop before they produce enough 20%-enriched uranium for a single bomb, some 240 kilograms (529 lb.).-Times of Israel 4/29/13
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