Iran is continuing to get closer to the “red line” in its nuclear program that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set at the United Nations last September, his office warned on Thursday.
The comments came in response to the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which indicated that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at its nuclear plant in Natanz.
“This is a very grave report which proves that Iran is continuing to make rapid progress toward the red line that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sketched in his 27 September 2012 UN speech,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.
“Today, Iran is closer than ever to achieving enriched material for a nuclear bomb. Preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is the first subject that Prime Minister Netanyahu will discuss with U.S. President Barack Obama during the latter's expected visit in less than a month,” added the statement.
In his speech to the UN in September, Netanyahu drew an actual red line with a marker on a chart symbolizing Iran's uranium enrichment program, and explained that Iran must be told that if it reaches enough uranium enriched to the 90% level in order to make a nuclear bomb, it will be attacked.
The European Union also responded to the IAEA report on Thursday, with a spokesman for the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, having said that the EU is very concerned about the report.
White House spokesman Jay Carney warned Iran, in response to the report, that it would face further pressure and isolation if it fails to address international concerns about its nuclear program in the February 26 talks with world powers in the Kazakh city of Almaty.
A Western diplomat said Wednesday that the P5+1 would come to Almaty with an offer containing “significant new elements.”
Reports have said that the powers could ease sanctions on Iran's trade in gold and other precious metals.