(JTA) — Iran will not produce a nuclear weapon before 2015, according to Israel’s outgoing Mossad director, Meir Dagan.
Dagan also said last week that he had advised against a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s presumed nuclear facilities.
The statements by the head of the Israeli intelligency agency reportedly may point to Israel’s warming to the possible efficacy of U.S.-led sanctions against Iran in order to halt its nuclear program, which have been increased several times in recent years.
The Stuxnet computer worm, discovered in July, may have corrupted some Iranian nuclear equipment and set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by months or years, according to reports. Experts have blamed Israel for the virus, saying clues in the coding point to the Jewish state.
Iran over the weekend announced that it was capable of making its own nuclear fuel plates and rods, refuting claims by Western powers that it does not have that capability, according to the French news agency AFP.
Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that talks between six world powers and Iran on halting its nuclear program will resume at the end of the month. She also announced over the weekend that the EU will reject an offer from Iran to tour its nuclear facilities.
Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday that the talks between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, plus Germany — and Iran will take place in Istanbul on Jan. 21 and 22, AFP reported.
Iran was expected to top the agenda on a trip by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to several Persian Gulf states. Clinton, who left Jan. 6 for the six-day trip, is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.