H. Clinton downplays Iran nuke assessment

Jan. 10, 2011 at 12:46 PM
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Even if Iran's nuclear program is slowing down, it is vital that the country not get atomic weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.

Speaking on the way to meeting Persian Gulf leaders in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Clinton downplayed a statement by Israel's retiring spy chief that Iran is four years away from producing a bomb.

On his final day as head of Mossad last week, Meir Dagan told Israeli lawmakers Iran is not likely to have a nuclear weapon capability before 2015. He attributed that assessment to malfunctions and setbacks sustained by Iran's nuclear program.

Clinton told reporters the key is to keep Iran from trying to obtain a nuclear weapon at all.

"I don't know that it gives much comfort to somebody who is in the gulf or is in a country that Iran has vowed to destroy that it's a one-year or three-year timeframe," she said.

Clinton said it is important not to be "misled by anyone's intelligence analysis."

"This remains a serious concern, and we expect all of our partners who share that concern, as these countries certainly do, to stay as focused as they can and to do everything within reason that will help to implement these sanctions," Clinton said.

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