Tags: petraeus | iran | nuclear

Petraeus: Iran Nuke 'A Couple of Years' Away

Sunday, 29 Mar 2009 03:32 PM

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Iran is still "a couple of years" away from having enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, the commander of US forces in the Middle East said Sunday.

"The bottom line: we think it's a couple of years away in that regard. It could be more, could be a little bit less," General David Petraeus, the head of the US Central Command, said in interview on CNN.

"There are certainly a lot of facts that we don't know about what goes on inside Iran," he added.

The United States and its European allies fear that Tehran intends to acquire a nuclear weapon under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, which Iran denies.

But Petraeus noted that to acquire a weapon, Iran must have enough highly enriched uranium, must make a warhead and have long-range missiles capable of delivering them. US intelligence believes Iran halted a secret program to design a nuclear weapon in 2003.

On the other hand, the head of Israeli military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, predicted last week that Iran will have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon within a year but is not rushing to produce one.

"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," Yadlin told the Israeli parliament.

Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium

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