FM Shalom: Iran Closing in on Nuclear Bomb

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said yesterday that Iran is only 6-9 months away from knowing how to make a nuclear bomb, and that the United Nations should threaten sanctions.

, | updated: 14:07

Iran has announced it soon will resume nuclear development and uranium enrichment, and leading European nations now back the idea of appealing to the United Nations to pressure Iran. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "If Iran does this [enriches uranium], I will support transferring the treatment of this matter to the UN Security Council."

The United States, Israel and European countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons in violation of the non-proliferation treaty it has signed. Iran has insisted that it will use the facility only for peaceful purposes.

"I think that the entire world understands that it's impossible to give such an extremist regime of Ayatollas the possibility of having a nuclear bomb," Shalom said. He added that Israel never had confidence that the EU's efforts to reach understandings with Iran would bear fruit. "The question is not when they will have a nuclear bomb, but when they will obtain the know-how necessary to build one... According to the information we have, this could be in 6-9 months."

Foreign Ministers of Britain, Germany and France wrote an Iranian official that they will ask the United Nations to place sanctions against Iran if it resumes nuclear development.

The Associated Press reported that Iranian officials were on the verge of informing the UN's Atomic Energy Agency that it intends to stop nuclear activities, but declined to deliver the letter after the European threat.