US says has 'eyes' inside Iran nuclear programme
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) said on Friday it had "eyes" and "visibility" inside Iran's nuclear programme and would know if Teheran had made a "breakout" move toward acquiring a nuclear weapon.
The comment by White House spokesman Jay Carney followed Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak's remark that new US intelligence suggested that the threat from Iran was becoming more "urgent." Mr Carney declined to comment on intelligence matters in detail but said that Washington and Israel were agreed on Iran's ambitions and its nuclear programme.
"I would also say that we have eyes - we have visibility into the programme, and we would know if and when Iran made what's called a breakout move towards acquiring a weapon." Breakout capability is commonly understood to be the point when a state acquires the knowledge, capability and materials to build a nuclear bomb if it wants to.
Mr Carney said later in his briefing that he was referring to International Atomic Energy Agency officials mandated to inspect Iran's nuclear sites because Teheran is a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).