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Israeli Military Intelligence Chief: Iran not Working on Nuclear Bomb

Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, head of Israeli military intelligence, says Iran is not currently trying to produce nuclear weapons, but that the Islamic republic could make an atomic bomb within “a year or two” if they decided to.

“The question is not when Iran will acquire the bomb, but how long until the leader decides to begin enriching (uranium) at 90 percent,” Kochavi said.

While it would take a year or two for Iran to develop a nuclear warhead, it would take more time for it to master the missile technology needed to deliver such a weapon.

Israel and many Western countries, most notably the United States, believe that Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program. Washington has led efforts to impose harsh United Nations sanctions against Iran while threatening the Islamic fundamentalist regime with military attack if it moves forward with uranium enrichment. Iran currently enriches uranium to 20%; 90% enrichment is needed in order to produce a nuclear bomb.

But Kochavi and other knowledgeable authorities say it is unlikely that Iran will develop such weapons anytime soon. Meir Dagan, the former chief of Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, doesn’t believe Iran will possess nuclear capability before 2015. A 2007 US intelligence report posited that Iran stopped developing nukes back in 2003, and earlier this month American intelligence agencies conceded Tehran was not trying to build them.

According to Agence France-Presse, General Kochavi said Iran is currently reluctant to stir up further nuclear-related trouble because of internal political instability and “religious tension.”

“At the moment, it’s not in Iran’s interest to move their program ahead,” he opined. Further uranium enrichment could lead to a breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which in turn could lead to even harsher sanctions or even a US or Israeli military strike.

Both Israel and the United States have signaled they will do whatever they deem necessary to stop Iran, which has made menacing comments regarding Israel’s existence, from becoming a nuclear power. This is an interesting position, since the US is the only country ever to wage a nuclear war and Israel, while decrying nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, sits atop an arsenal of  more than 150 undeclared nukes.

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