Olmert, Bush agree on Iran deadline

US President George W. Bush agreed that plans for American intervention to halt Iran’s nuclear program are congruent with a timetable discussed with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during talks in Washington.

According to Israeli intelligence assessments Iran will acquire the necessary nuclear technology to build a nuclear weapon within a year, Olmert said during the talks.

The prime minister said Israel fears diplomatic foot-dragging at the United Nations, where the United States has faced Russian and Chinese opposition to push for tough sanctions against Iran should it continue uranium enrichment in defiance of the international community.

“I am very, very, very satisfied,” Olmert told Israeli reports after talks with Bush.

Bush told Olmert he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, but US officials have cast doubt over Washington’s capability to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology.

Under paragraph 7 of the United Nations charter, the US will ask the Security Council to impose economic and military sanctions on Iran should it refuse to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Should Russia use its veto power to block a US-backed UN resolution for imposing sanctions on Iran, Washington will circumvent the Security Council by luring allied countries to impose an economic and military embargo on Tehran.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Iranian officials are using intermediaries to convey to Washington their readiness to talk directly to US officials.

Meanwhile, officials from France, Britain and Germany will hold talks with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns to discuss a compromise EU draft resolution against Iran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that Iran signaled its readiness to halt uranium enrichment activities in compliance with a European deal to supply Tehran with a light-water nuclear reactor in return for its compliance with international demands.
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