IAEA report proves accuracy of Israeli estimates on Iran - Israeli PM
The International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear programme is "further proof" that Israeli estimates of the programme were accurate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday, DPA reported.
The premier's statement came after the IAEA said Friday that Iran has increased its capacity to enrich uranium to higher grades, despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt such work.
Tehran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to levels of 20 per cent at its Fordo facility and boosted the number of centrifuges enriching to below 5 per cent at its Natanz plant by 2,600 to 8,808, the report said.
"Iran is continuing its nuclear programme without let-up ... while bluntly ignoring the demands of the international community," Netanyahu's statement, the first official Israeli response to the IAEA report, said.
Iran's enrichment of uranium up to 20 per cent has caused concern in the West because such material is theoretically much easier to turn into bomb-grade material than uranium enriched at below 5 per cent.
The latest report comes two days after senior IAEA officials returned from a second trip to Iran without a commitment from Tehran to start answering questions about alleged nuclear weapons projects, and without having been allowed to see the key facility of Parchin.
Israel has long maintained that, despite Tehran's denials to the contrary, the real aim of the nuclear programme is to manufacture atomic weapons.
Jerusalem regards Iran as its biggest existential threat, because of the country's nuclear programme, coupled with consistent statements by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be destroyed.
Speculation has been mounting in recent weeks that Israel intends to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities in order to stop the programme.
While no Israeli official has openly or publicly threatened a military attack on Iran, preferring instead to call for tighter and more stringent sanctions against Tehran, they have repeatedly said that "all options are on the table."