Israel says Iran can make A-bombs

2012-02-02 21:40

Jerusalem - Israel estimated on Thursday that Iran could make four atomic bombs by further enriching uranium it has already stockpiled, and could produce its first within a year of deciding to build one.

But in his rare public remarks, Major-General Aviv Kochavi, chief of military intelligence, held out the possibility stronger international sanctions might dissuade Tehran from pursuing a policy he had no doubt was aimed at developing nuclear weapons, despite Iranian denials.

Citing figures similar to those from the UN nuclear agency, Kochavi told Israel's annual Herzliya Conference on strategic affairs: "Iran has accumulated more than 4 tons of uranium enriched to a level of 3.5kg and nearly 100kg at an enrichment level of 20%.

"This amount of material is already enough for four atomic bombs."

Nuclear bombs require uranium enriched to 90%, but Western experts say much of the effort required to get there is already achieved once it reaches 20% purity, shortening the time needed for any nuclear weapons "break-out".

One former UN inspector said last month Iran could have enough 20% uranium for one bomb - about 250kg of the material - in about a year from now.

Tehran says it will use 20% enriched uranium to convert into fuel for a research reactor making isotopes to treat cancer patients. Western officials say they doubt that the country has the technical capability to do that.

Referring to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in whose country's hands Israel believe a nuclear weapon would threaten the survival of the Jewish state, Kochavi said:

"From the moment Khamenei gives an order... to speed up production of the first nuclear explosive device, we estimate it will take about a year to complete the task."

Arming a missile with a nuclear warhead, he added, could take a year or two longer.

Develop nuclear technology

Western experts' estimates of how quickly Iran could assemble a nuclear weapon if it decides to do so range from as little as six months to a year or more. Some believe Iran hopes to develop nuclear technology but stop short of building weapons, a move from which it is barred by treaty commitments.

In a report in November, the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had almost 5 tons of low-enriched uranium and, citing data from September, 73.7 kg of uranium with a purity of 20%.

"Iran continues to contend that its programme is for peaceful and civilian purposes," Kochavi said.

"But a long series of solid, strong data in our hands prove beyond any doubt that Iran is continuing to engage in developing nuclear weapons," he said in the speech, in which he steered clear of discussing Israel's military options.

Israel, widely believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, has said it would use force if necessary to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It has made little comment on Iranian accusations that its agents, along with those of its Western allies, are behind assassinations and explosions that appear to form part of a covert war to sabotage Iran's nuclear development capacity.

In separate remarks in Tel Aviv, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said "we are in a period of diplomacy and sanctions" in trying to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Worried about survival

"It is clear to all that there is no need to take any option off the table, that there needs to be intensive and urgent diplomacy and that sanctions on Iran need to include not only on oil but on the financial system and the central bank," Barak told reporters.

Washington and the European Union have imposed tighter sanctions in recent weeks on both Iran's oil exports and on international financial transactions with Tehran.

Kochavi said the current sanctions have not led to a change in Iranian strategy, but could still have an effect.

"But the stronger the [pressure], the greater the potential for the regime - which is worried first and foremost about its survival - to reconsider," he said.

Tension between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear work has increased since November, when the IAEA published a report that said Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon.

Iran says its nuclear energy programme is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity and other civilian uses.

  • q.henning - 2012-02-02 21:49

    Title: ...Iran can “maker” A-bombs. Proofreading?

      TheWatcher - 2012-02-02 22:42

      MaeBe ai shud aply 2 b a gnus 24 editer

  • Greg - 2012-02-02 22:11

    Why are you reporting this rubbish? Iran is not a threat to anybody and never was. Biased propaganda this is. How about reporting Iran's side of the story???????? Bloody puppets.

      Jaba - 2012-02-03 06:28

      Iran is not a threat? I would love to agree with you, but your claim is preposterous… a country that has publicly announced (more than ounce) its intention to wipe out another member state of the UN is a threat! Furthermore, if they are trying to go nuclear at the same time they become a bigger threat to world stability. Add to that the fundamentalist view of Iran’s leaders, as they believe that they are in fact the superior leaders of the Arab & Muslim world- then what you have is a very dangerous situation – a very clear and present danger to the Middle East and the rest of the world.

      Jaba - 2012-02-03 07:17

      Quite possibly not. It is amazing that if the same scenario was around and Israel was not the one facing Iranian aggression, while the only countries facing Iranian superiority complex would have been Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman – then maybe the rest of South Africa’s Muslim population would agree that Iran is a threat. However the concern of the rest of the Arab world falls on death ears as the policy of ‘we got bigger fish to fry’ and anti Israel propaganda takes priority. Unfortunately, the hate for Israel is far greater than the concern for any of the Arab neighbours in the vicinity of Iran. Btw, IAEA is not impressed with Iran’s games at all, I don’t know where you get the ‘visit any time idea’ from but Iran only lets them in when in the dog box, otherwise they are kicked out and called spies. This welcome/go away nature of doing business has resulted in this situation.

      Sterling - 2012-02-03 07:46

      History has shown that once a country get the power they will used their power against weaker countries. A good example of what I am talking about, when the Europeans had the power they went out and conquered lands around the world. When the Japanese developed military power in Asia they used it to take over territory in Asia. The US did the same thing in north America. The Brazilians took large parts of her neighbors territory in South America. Speaking of Iran(Persia)this country has always gave the west a problem going back to the Greeks. The countries in the Indian ocean will become a threat to Africa and the leaders in Africa are sleeping.

      Fred - 2012-02-16 03:28

      Jonathan, these guys Fidel, Patrick, Greg, Michael, Pierre and several others are rotten anti-Semites and supporters of tyrannical regimes (most of which no longer exist). They're presently a bad bunch of people who distort reality, furthering the forces of evil in our world, undermining the good. The good thing is their power is waning by the day, as our world moves further and further away from their nightmare scenarios.

  • Eric Schollar - 2012-02-02 22:25

    I have no doubt that Iran wants to maker, and even user, an a-bomb. But can they maker a cup of tea?

  • Fidel - 2012-02-03 00:27

    Any discussion on Iranian nukes can't exclude the timeline of the emergence of the allegations. Is it not pathetic and utter Orwellian to keep on claiming from 1987 that Iran would have nukes in 2 to 5 years? It is atrocious that we turn to same sources year after year for information on Iranian nukes. Israel needs to declare its illegal nuclear stockpile!

      Jaba - 2012-02-03 06:32

      Israel has never threatened any of its neighbours with annihilation… it’s the other way round.

      Jaba - 2012-02-03 07:55

      Patrick, which out of the 5 Arab-Israeli wars was started by Israel? If you call going to war in self defence after being attacked a crime than your apologetic attitude towards Iran is logical - for you are as fanatical as the crazed Ayatollahs. When Hitler mentioned the fact he was going to kill the Jews, everyone laughed (even Jews themselves) after 6 million were murdered its understandable the Jews take any threat seriously - whether you agree with it or not... every one takes care of their own first. From so many of your previous posts it is apparent Patrick that you are upset Hitler didn’t finish the Job. It is due to people like you, Alfred, Fidel and many others that Israel went nuclear so fast into its existence. Self defence & survival is stronger than the will to kill and destroy a neighbouring nation. Israel has always prayed and hoped for peace (every democratic election in Israel was won by parties promising peace) – but its neighbours have other ideas.

      Dayaan - 2012-02-03 09:14

      @Jaba you are living in an illusory world by saying that Israel has never threatened any of it's neighbours it has been not just threatening them but has also been blackmailing various others to assist them or they will use nuclear force. The Russians recently released a report of Israeli blackmail where even they were threatened with a suitcase bomb you can guess what the Russians response was. "THE GAME OF RUSSIAN ROULETTE WAS INVENTED BY US DO YOU WANNA PLAY." The USA and European have been placating the Israeli's by playing along with them, but you can only do so for a short while that is why the French has called Netanyahu a LIAR. The sooner Israel learns that they cannot just bully people the sooner their will be peace.

      Dayaan - 2012-02-03 09:18

      Israel might not have started the war but instigated the war ask the few remaining survivors of the USS Liberty that got sunk by the Israeli's to cover-up their instigation of war or perhaps you want to ask the few hundred that died in the callous attack Israel made on the USS Liberty.

      Dayaan - 2012-02-03 09:22

      What a joke to say that every democratic election was won by parties that want peace when the only way a party can rule is by making a deal for partnership with hardline racist extremists such as Lieberman who does not and is not interested in peace.

      BA - 2012-02-03 10:24

      Fidel - you know all of this for a fact fo you? And yet all the allegations against iran are all lies? I would love to know your sources. IDIOT.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-03 11:27 Just look who features there and in perticular the Iran /Iraq War where 1M est. people died.

      Fred - 2012-02-16 05:06

      It's been decided: after Syria, Iran. The Middle East will be free of dictators and tyrants. Whatever the delusional Jew and US hating few say on this site.

  • Alfred - 2012-02-03 06:43

    Israel's regime is equally rabid and there is absolutely no doubt that it has illegal nuclear weapons yet nothing is done about it. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing. It will be interesting to see if the pro america, pro christian, pro israel hacker will change the likes/dislikes here. Check out their handy work here.

  • The-Azanian - 2012-02-03 06:51

    Israel is a real trouble maker in middle-east just like iran and turkey. That statement was made to evoke usa. When will usa get its head out of its a§§ and start focusing on the interests of its people.

      BA - 2012-02-03 10:07

      At least read a bit of history before so proudly displaying your ignorance. War has been declared on Israel literally from day one of its formation by its arab neighbours. This occured in 1948, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2000 and 2006. It has never declared war on any state. So don't come with this utter crap that Israel is the aggressor in the Middle East. iran and iraq were involved in a war for several years. iraq invaded kuwait. The arab Sudanese have attacked the African Sudanese in Darfur and committed genocide there. Morrocco continues to this day to occupy West Sahara. You people are ignorant fools and idiots.

  • NinetiethOwl - 2012-02-03 09:52

    I would like to steer away from this precise topic and direct the neutral viewer to a trend in the comments here. Isn't it interesting how posts which show support for continued Israeli aggression and expansion get multiple likes, while those calling for, at the very least, an objective review of the situation get many dislikes? This is not a coincidence or product of chance. Israel has specific initiatives in which paid agents set out to comb the Internet of any criticism of Israel and attack the messenger, drown out the truth with misinformation and pro Jewish propaganda (also known as lies), or simply wreck the page until such point that the commentary is disabled. These are but a few of their strategies in dealing with opposition. Do not for a moment think that the ratio of like to dislike is a measure of how honest people really feel about the issue. This is an intentional psychological weapon designed to appeal to the herd instinct in each person and cause them to jump on the Israel-Firster bandwagon. Ordinary people do not support continued warfare and the genocide of arab people. Do not be deceived.

      BA - 2012-02-03 10:22

      You are a Jew-hater and an ignorant fool. The only genocides going on are by: the turkish muslims against the Kurds, the somalian muslims against Africans, the Sudanese arabs against the African Sudanese and the Chinese against the Tibettans. Your whole comment is complete Jew-hating, ignorant rubbish.

      Jaba - 2012-02-03 10:49

      Every human being of sound mind should know this by now. In any event, US and Israel are not the Satan that the Ayatollah of Rock'n rollah declared. With the way the Arabs behave one wonders if perhaps they are the ones who are worthy of that title. On the topic though, I have come to realise that the Israelis are demonised, many many times without justification. Clearly the Arabs have never wanted Israel to exist and have tried many times, unsuccessfully, to drive them into the sea. Now the Israelis are pretty straight forward people. You threaten them, they sort you out. Nothing wrong with defending your state and it citizens. I too would appreciate if all these people who press like/dislike would leave more comments of their own – however I cant but laugh at your anxiousness & paranoid conspiracy theories... I for one would be chuffed had I got paid for my point of view. I will let you know if I ever get a cheque in the post for posting on news24 :) NinetiethOwl & Alfred – puff puff pass plz.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-03 11:40

      Com'on 14 million Jewish people worldwide and 7 million pop of Isreal surrounded by 1 billion Muslim arabs who clearly state their intention to destroy Isreal and ensure Islamic homogeneity in the Middle east (real reason for anti-isreali sentiment). Really , who are the genocidal parties actually ?

      Fidel - 2012-02-07 02:18

      @BA A Jew-hater is anyone that the Talmudic jews hate.

      Fidel - 2012-02-07 02:19

      Zionists are experts at propaganda, disinformation, denying facts and outright lying. Any criticism of Zionism or of Israel is labelled as "anti-semitism", where this is interpreted to mean "anti-Jewish". This is a slanderous falsehood.

      Fred - 2012-02-16 05:09

      An anti-Semite Jew hater is anyone who is prejudice against Jewish people, like you, Patrick, Pierre, Muedes, Michael, Azanian and a few others on this site. You're on the wrong side of history, of this there's no doubt.

  • Pugulis - 2012-02-19 12:58

    There are multiple problems with the whole idea of Iran with nuclear weapons. The first problem is with the assumptions being made. It is assumed that Iran is lying. It is assumed how much material they have. And it is assumed they will use any weapon they produce. If they are lying, it would be kind of silly to continue with their program. There are 2 reasons for this. 1, It's been made clear the west doesn't want this to happen and 2, the US already attacked a country that did not have nuclear weapons, under the idea that they did. So continuing the "lie" that they don't have nuclear intentions is just plain stupid. How much material they have is completely up for debate. Now, weather they would use such weapon. There are actually many problems with this. If they were to use it against a country like Israel, the fallout would envelop the entire mid-east region. I don't think they would make themselves all that popular with the rest of the muslim world if they went and irradiated them. If they sold the material to a terrorist group (highly unlikely) it could easily be tracked (allot of scientific reasons for this). So if a terrorist group did use the material, it would be traced back to Iran in an instant. But let's say they can build a nuclear bomb. And then use it against Israel or the U.S. or any number of countries. The U.S. has the capability of responding by completely vaporizing the country.

  • Pugulis - 2012-02-19 13:06

    The question that needs to be asked is, Why are both sides of this issue lying. Yes, both sides seem to be putting on a big show. What's the point? The US has already shown it will attack a country suspected of having nuclear capabilities Even if the leader of said country vehemently denies any such weapons exist. Why would a country like Iran continue to antagonize a country like the US. And, on the other side of the coin, why would a country like the US continue to threaten a country like Iran. Doing so has don't nothing in the past except to embolden Iran (or any other country). So again, I ask, Why are both sides going through all these charades. It's almost as if BOTH sides want a confrontation.

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