Expert: Iran nuke claims show sanctions biting

Iran claims it is upgrading its ability to make uranium for its nuclear program. It's also cutting oil exports to six European countries, because of U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear program.

And New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said on "CBS this Morning" Wednesday Iran's assertions show a nation feeling the effects of U.S.-led sanctions aimed at Tehran's nuclear program.

"It almost seems like the Iranian leader (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) is begging someone to take military action to stop Iran's program," the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner told co-hosts Charlie Rose and Erica Hill. "It's probably a sign, also, that the sanctions that President Obama has organized really are starting to bite. The Iranian currency has sharply devalued. There's been a lot of - unemployment's expanded there. So, they're clearly hurting. That's obvious. But you sort of wonder why he would be ... taking these kinds of provocative actions, announcing expansion of the nuclear program and trying to punish the Europeans."

Iran claims new, advanced nuclear centrifuges

Do Iran's claims make Israel any more likely to attack?

"They're operating on multiple clocks," Friedman says. "One, obviously, is the clock of the Iranian program itself. And there's a lot of dispute about that, when Iran actually will have weaponized or will be able to do so. I think the Israelis are also looking at the political clock. They're probably weighing, if they were to undertake a military action against Iran during the presidential campaign, likely President Obama would have less capacity to discipline them or prevent such action. So, I think they're weighing both of those things."

Friedman also discussed the West's options in Syria and the state of U.S.-China relations, as the heir-apparent to be China's next president visits the U.S.

To see the full Friedman interview, click on the video in the player above.

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