WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of the U.S. Defense Department told Congress on Tuesday that the United States will not allow Iran to build a nuclear weapon, and that if Iran decided to use nuclear talks as a cover for developing one, Washington would be able to detect it.
Elissa Slotkin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee that the military remains prepared for all options if Tehran would decide to secretly develop a bomb while engaging in diplomacy.
"Any comprehensive agreement that we ever negotiate will emphasize verifiable means," Slotkin said. "And importantly, we remain confident that we could tell if Iran was making a dash toward a weapon, and if that decision was made, it would take at least a year" for a nuclear device to be developed.
Over the years, the West has been suspicion about Iran's nuclear program. Last November, Iran reached an agreement with the international community, pledging to temporarily halt some of its nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. Negotiations are set to resume later this month in Vienna on a comprehensive accord that would ensure Iran does not move forward with a nuclear weapons program.
"We are now focused on testing the prospects for a comprehensive nuclear deal based on verifiable actions that convince us and the international community that Iran is not trying to obtain a nuclear bomb," Slotkin said.