President Barack Obama steps off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on July 25 (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
The White House refused to comment Thursday on a bombshell Israeli media report that President Barack Obama recently received an updated intelligence assessment that Iran has made surprising strides towards being able to build a nuclear weapon.
The Haaretz newspaper reported that Obama had received a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)—the consensus assessment of the American intelligence community—that "Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program." The daily cited unnamed "Western diplomats and Israeli officials."
Asked about the report, White House press secretary Jay Carney replied: "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," he said aboard Air Force One as Obama campaigned in the swing state of Colorado.
"We are leading an international effort to impose upon Iran what even the Iranian president has identified as the most stringent sanctions ever imposed on any country," Carney said. "And that effort is designed of what we believe remains to be a window of opportunity to persuade Iran through these sanctions and through diplomatic efforts to forgo its nuclear weapons ambitions and live to its international obligations." He added that "hardly a week goes by" without the economic vise tightening further.Read More »from White House mum on reported new Iran nukes warning