September 27, 2008

Israeli Intelligence Service Believes Iran Can Obtain Nukes in 2010- 2012

TEL AVIV. Sept 27 (Interfax-AVN) - The Israeli military intelligence service possesses information indicating that Iran will be capable of building the first nuclear warhead by 2012, a high- ranking Israeli military official said.

"Iran is moving ahead quite quickly in terms of uranium enrichment. If it keeps moving ahead at this pace, it will obtain enough low-enriched nuclear materials to build the first nuclear warhead in about a year," an official from the General Staff of the Israeli armed forces said on condition of anonymity in an interview with a group of Russian journalists invited to Tel Aviv by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Iran is currently accumulating uranium enriched to the degree of 4%, the official said. "Iran has from one third to a half of the necessary amount of low-enriched uranium for making the first nuclear warhead," he said.

Switching to a higher level of uranium enrichment necessary for producing nuclear weapons would not pose a technological problem for Iran, the official said. "This will not take a lot of time. Depending on how quickly the work proceeds, Iran will be able to obtain a nuclear bomb by the beginning of 2010 or by 2012," he said.

Therefore, the next few months will be critical for using political methods to influence the Iranian leadership's desire to obtain nuclear weapons, the Israeli official said. "Exerting strong political influence on Iran would be a right thing to do for the international community at the present stage," he said.

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