- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. lawmakers nearly two years ago that Iran already had the capability to make a nuclear weapon, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable recently released.

The confidential Dec. 23, 2009, cable describes a meeting in Jerusalem between Mr. Netanyahu and a congressional delegation and notes his reply to a question on when Iran would acquire nuclear weapons.

“Netanyahu responded that Iran has the capability now to make one bomb or they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two,” says the cable, which was sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Mr. Netanyahu went on to say that the revelation of a secret nuclear facility in Qom had “helped convince doubters in the international community that Iran has a weapons program.”

Iran’s nuclear program, which it claims is for peaceful purposes only, is widely believed to have suffered severe setbacks due to international sanctions, technical difficulties and the assassination of some of its top nuclear scientists.

In January, the outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency created a controversy when he declared that Iran would not be able to build a bomb before 2015.

• Ben Birnbaum can be reached at 138247@example.com.

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