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Report: U.S. Has New Intelligence Saying Iran Has Made 'Significant Progress' on Nuclear Program

Israel's defense minister said Thursday the Obama administration has received a new U.S. intelligence report detailing Iran's marked progress in its nuclear weapons program, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

According to Haaretz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed its earlier report that President Barack Obama has a new National Intelligence Estimate that "shares Israel's view that Iran has made significant progress toward military nuclear capability."

"As far as we know it brings the American assessment much closer to ours...it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and [shows it is] less clear and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress toward military nuclear capability," Barak said on Israeli radio, Reuters reported.

According to Haaretz, the NIE was meant to have been submitted to the White House several weeks ago, "but it was revised to include new and alarming intelligence information about military components of Iran's nuclear program."

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed Thursday Iran is making steady progress on its nuclear program but insisted a weapon is not yet imminent and that there's still time for diplomacy, according to the Times of Israel.

According to Reuters, Vietor would not specifically discuss on the new report, saying he's "not going to comment on intelligence matters."

Speaking on the radio, Barak said Israel has not made a decision yet about what to do with Iran but said all options are "still on the table, and when we say this, we mean it."

"There is still no decision, we understand the gravity of the situation, we understand that we do not have all the time in the world to decide. We are facing tough decisions…we will listen to all assessments and comments, and when we have to make decisions, we will make them, and the decision will of course come from the government," he said.

According to CBS News, the new NIE would be a complete turnaround from its last official word on Iran in 2007, which said Tehran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Iran insists its nuclear development is for peaceful purposes only, including energy and research.

The report of the new intelligence comes one week after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Iran must agree to acceptable limits on its nuclear program or face the possibility of U.S. military action.

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