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Israeli Report Claims Obama Knows Iran Is Very Close to Nuclear Weapon

IIPA via Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- An Israeli newspaper is reporting that President Obama was just given new intelligence that suggests Iran is much further along in developing a nuclear arsenal than previously believed.

According to Haaretz, the National Intelligence Estimate report, which is regularly updated, stated that "Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program."

The U.S. and Israel have been at odds over whether a preemptive military strike should be launched to destroy Iran's nuclear program that Tehran alleges is for peaceful purposes.

Israel contends that sanctions and diplomacy have done nothing to stop Iran's uranium enrichment operations -- the key to making atomic bombs -- while the White House says sanctions have devastated Iran's economy as the administration prefers to exhaust all non-military options first.

Asked about the veracity of the Israeli newspaper story on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "I don't comment on intelligence matters or intelligence reports the president may or may not have received.  I can tell you that the president remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the NIE report, if true, "comes very close to our own estimate, I would say, as opposed to earlier American estimates.  It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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