is close to crossing a technological threshold after which it will be able to secretly produce nuclear weapons without supervision, Tzipi Livni said Friday at the NATO foreign ministers conference in Brussels, Belgium.
"The time to reach a decision (regarding Iran) is near," the FM said, adding that Israel
would continue to urge Western countries to maintain a firm stance against Tehran.
Livni, who is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later in the day, lauded the decision to uphold the sanctions policy.
"The American intelligence report on Iran should not change the tough position taken against its nuclear program," she said.
Livni is expected to tell the NATO foreign ministers that "the world must unite to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear arms."
The foreign minister, who is also set to meet with her counterparts from Germany, France and the UK, hopes that the European Union will back the Bush administration's call for continued pressure against Tehran.
"If this happens, then the diplomatic process in which the Western world conveys a tough policy toward Iran will be complete," Livni is expected to tell the conference.
Germany and France said on Thursday that Iran's nuclear program was still a threat and the search for more UN sanctions should go on despite the US intelligence report saying that Tehran was no longer trying to build an atomic bomb.
Speaking at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the existing dual track policy of preparing sanctions against Tehran while leaving the door open to negotiations should go on.
"I think that we are in a process and that Iran still poses a threat," Merkel said, adding that talks between mediator Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator should continue.
Sarkozy said he fully agreed with Merkel, adding: "What has made Iran move until now is sanctions and firmness."
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht told reporters that the ministers accepted the Bush administration's argument that Iran remains a threat and needs to be treated as such.
"On Iran, everybody around the table agreed we should not change our position," he told reporters after a dinner at which Rice presented Washington's position.
Reuters contributed to the report