Despite efforts to disrupt the nuclear program in Iran, Tehran has reached a point where it can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said during an interview with CBS News late Monday night.
When asked by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley if Iran can have a nuclear weapon by 2012, Panetta answered: "It would probably be about a year before they can do it. Perhaps a little less. But one proviso, Scott, is if they have a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel."
The US secretary of defense went on to say during the interview that the US and Israel share a common concern. "The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it," he added.
When asked what steps the US would be willing to take in order to prevent a nuclear attack, Panetta said that if intelligence is received that Iran is proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then "we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it."
"There are no options off the table," he added.