On Tuesday retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin
said Iran has essentially crossed the “red line” set by Israel for its nuclear activity, Gavriel Fiske of The Times of Israel reports.On September 27 Israeli Prime Minister told the UN General Assembly that Iran had almost produced enough 20%-enriched uranium for a single nuclear bomb, which Israel considers unacceptable (i.e. a red line).
“For all intents and purposes, Iran has crossed Israel’s red line,” Yadlin, a former head of Israel Defence Force Military Intelligence, told a security conference in Tel Aviv. “In the summer, Iran will be a month or two away from deciding about a bomb.”
Iran’s enrichment activities are a concern because 20%-enriched uranium is only a technical step away from the 90% purity needed for a nuclear weapon.
In February Iran converted some of the uranium into reactor fuel, but Israel projects that Iran’s stockpile will reach the “red line” threshold by June. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
Yadlin said that because of the June Iranian elections, Israel and the West had until then to decide on a military option to destroy or curtail Iran’s nuclear operation, and expressed assurance that Israel was up to the task with or without direct help from the US.
Former intelligence and justice minister MK Tzachi Hanegbi, who also spoke at the conference, said that the time for action is “now or never … [and] the option of never does not exist.”
Fisk notes that Israel’s capability to unilaterally strike Iran got a boost this week when U.S. defence Secretary Chuck Hagel announced an unprecedented sale of advanced military equipment to Israel.
The long list of advanced weapons — which would greatly increase Israel’s capacity to carry out a long-range attack — includes advanced radar systems for Israel Jets, antiradiation missiles, KC-135 aerial refueling planes, and tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey aircraft.
In December the U.S. announced a $647 million agreement to provide the Israel Air Force with 10,000 bombs — more than half of which are bunker-busters — along with 6,900 joint direct attack munitions (JDAM) tail kits, which convert unguided free-fall bombs into satellite-guided “smart” weapons.
Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East.
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