These were public comments made by Israeli leaders as far back as 1992.
From the Informed Consent Blog, who references a piece by the Christian Science Monitor:
Posted on 03/06/2012 by Juan
Scott Peterson at the Christian Science Monitor did a useful timeline for dire Israeli and US predictions of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, beginning 20 years ago.
1992: Israeli member of parliament Binyamin Netanyahu predicts that Iran was “3 to 5 years” from having a nuclear weapon.
1992: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres predicts an Iranian nuclear warhead by 1999 to French TV.
1995: The New York Times quotes US and Israeli officials saying that Iran would have the bomb by 2000.
1998: Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress that Iran could have an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US by 2003.
For clarity's sake, here's the link to the original work from the Christian Science Monitor:
To suggest that anyone sharing this info could be, in any way, in favor of Iran obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon, is laughable. That said...I think this information should at the very least give people a moment's pause before we take any steps toward military action against Iran. Netenyahu, Peres and Rumsfield weren't kidding, and likely believed those thoughts when they expressed them. Just as Netenyahu believes them now as tensions seemingly are on a slow burn toward military aggression.
It is a problem. For all the well enunciated reasons why, I'm not in favor of Iran developing nuclear weapons. That said, I'm not comfortable with the United States having nuclear weapons. Reality tells us many nations have nukes and so far there has not been an occasion where one was used. (The bombs dropped during World War II were Atomic weapons, a fraction as powerful as nuclear weapons.) Is the world safer because of them? The argument goes that if everyone has one, then no one will use one. Really? Ok, if you say so.
Aside from the whole "right to do what they please" argument, it does seem that the religious factions are pulling power from Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Who knows? If the powers that be reach the point where military actions are chosen as a path forward, I sure hope there's more meat on the bone than apparently there was back in 1992, 1995 and 1998. If lives are at stake, American, Israeli or Iranian, let's make sure our information is of a better caliber than it appears to have been over the last twenty years.