U.S. issues Iran nuclear deadline before possible military action
Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the UN General Assembly in September this year
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The U.S. government has given Iran a deadline of four to five months over nuclear talks before pursuing military options, Channel 10 reported on Tuesday night.
According to a senior U.S. official who spoke to the TV network, President Barack Obama plans to engage Iran in direct talks without involving Israel.
The move comes after reports that Israel leaked information about Iran's nuclear program to the press, including diagrams of what appeared to show a blueprint for the use of a nuclear weapon. Experts at the time said the diagram was only an indication that Iran was looking to "understand the process" rather than to create a weapon.
However, international support for Israel rallied off the back of the leaked information. The Israeli government has repeatedly said it will not tolerate a nuclear Iran. On Monday, President Binyamin Netanyahu said the Iranian nuclear problem would have to be confronted by 2013.
"I made clear that once Iran crosses that enrichment threshold, the chances of us effectively stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program would be reduced dramatically," he said.
According to British newspaper, the Guardian, the leaked information actually backfired on Israel as the diagram put the International Atomic Energy Agency's investigation into the Iranian nuclear program in jeopardy.