Iran is heading towards a major breakthrough in its nuclear weapons capability, Israel's deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz warned Friday.
"Iran is continuing to advance toward a military nuclear capability and is heading towards a major breakthrough," the Iranian-born Mofaz told a think tank after talks in Washington with US officials.
"For us such a situation that Iran will have a nuclear power is an existential threat and from the state of Israel point of view, it is unacceptable," Mofaz told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"Our estimation is that already by (2009) Iran will reach enrichment capability and as soon as 2010 will have option to reach (uranium production) at military levels," he said in broken English.
He charged that Iran was playing for time in talks aimed at halting uranium enrichment with the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- the permanent UN Security Council members -- and Germany, the so-called P5-plus-1.
"One thing is clear is Iranians are continuing their policy of buying time and so far they are succeeding," he said.
"We all know time is a decisive element in our ability to change the picture and remove the Iranian threat," Mofaz said.
"And the window of influence is becoming smaller and I believe about to close," he said. "It's a race against time and time is winning."
He said he favored a diplomatic solution to the showdown with Iran over its nuclear program but refused to rule out all options, including the military option, to stop Iran.
Copyright 2008 AFP