JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- An Israeli defense official said the country believes Iran can enrich enough uranium for a nuclear weapon in about a month's time.
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told USA Today the Iranians have the capability to spin low-enriched uranium into highly enriched, weapons grade material using new centrifuges -- a new revelation about Iran's highly controversial nuclear program.
"We have made it crystal clear -- in all possible forums, that Israel will not stand by and watch Iran develop weaponry that will put us, the entire Middle East and eventually the world, under an Iranian umbrella of terror," Danon said.
The enrichment capability -- though it's not expected Tehran is pursuing a weapon at breakneck pace right now -- was confirmed by international officials.
"If they use all their centrifuges ... and their stockpiles of low- and medium-enriched uranium, that would take one to 1.6 months," said David Albright, a former inspector for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Obama administration has said the Iranian government could build a nuclear weapon in about a year's time if it made the internal decision to pursue one with haste.
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is a former nuclear negotiator who is widely regarded as a moderate and has sought to reset relations with the West over the nation's nuclear program.
USA Today said Obama administration security officials have sought to convince congressional lawmakers not to pass a new round of tough sanctions against Iran while initial talks with Rouhani's government have proved positive at the outset.