With time running out to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, some feared that US President Barack Obama would acquiesce to regional demands for Israel's nuclear program to be inspected as a means of dealing with the Middle East nuclear problem as a whole.
But a report in the Washington Times on Saturday said that when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited in Washington in May, Obama promised to continue honoring a 40-year-old confidential understanding between Israel and the US that the latter would not support calls for nuclear inspections in Israel. The understanding also guarantees no American pressure for Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
According to the report, Israel is believed to have an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons.
A day later, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammed ElBaradei announced that there had been a "shifting of gears" in the international community's dealings with Iran regarding its nuclear program.
Following days of intense talks between Iranian and UN officials, ElBaradei said he felt Tehran was being more transparent and cooperative, and reiterated that he still isn't convinced Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
But ElBaradei's optimistic declaration came amid revelations that Iran has been operating a secret uranium enrichment facility that likely puts the Islamic Republic within weeks or months of having enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon.
A New York Times report citing an IAEA analysis on Sunday warned that Iran has also managed to obtain all the technical information needed to design and produce atomic bombs.
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