JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel believes Iran will have the resources to create a nuclear weapon by 2010 despite a U.S. intelligence report that it was not building an atomic bomb, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday.
Olmert told his cabinet that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium and develop ballistic missiles and that Israel would press the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency to “expose Iran’s nuclear weapons activity”.
The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) published last Monday said Iran’s nuclear weapons program was frozen in 2003 and remained on hold, contradicting an earlier report that the Islamic Republic was bent on building the bomb.
“According to the (NIE) report, there was a nuclear weapons program until 2003, but there is no explanation where it disappeared,” Olmert said, according to an official who was at the cabinet meeting.
Olmert said Israel would continue seeking further sanctions against Iran, which he said would have enriched enough uranium to create a nuclear weapon by 2010.
Israel says an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose a threat to its existence.
Israeli media reported that since the NIE report, Israeli intelligence agencies have also been reviewing their information on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Israel is widely believed to have the only atomic arsenal in the Middle East, although it has never confirmed or denied that.
Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Keith Weir