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Gen. Amos Yadlin: 'Signs Of Iranian Secret Nuclear Program'

'If Unhampered, Iran Will Acquire Nuclear Weapons By 2010'

Shimon Peres: 'Iran Must Also Realize That It Could Also Be Destroyed'

Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin

Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the chief of the IDF Intelligence Branch warns that Iran may be conducting a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Gen. Yadlin presented his assessment of Irans nuclear weapons drive in a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In his view, U.N. sanctions could affect Tehrans plans to continue with its nuclear weapons program. Deputy Premier Shimon Peres has also been speaking about Irans threat to wipe Israel off the map by warning that Iran could also be destroyed.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

Iran may be conducting a secret nuclear weapons program - thats the assessment of Gen. Amos Yadlin, the IDFs intelligence chief.  

Gen. Yadlin explained the Iranians started enriching uranium by activating a battery of 164 centrifuges just last January. If they have reached 3.5% enrichment already it could be they have done so with a clandestine military project. In order to produce the quantity and quality of weapons grade uranium, several thousand centrifuges must be operated non- stop for a year. But the general went on to say: Although there were problems, whoever can enrich uranium to 3.5% can also enrich it to 90% (Twenty-five kilos are required for a nuclear bomb). He refuted the Iranian claim that they have resolved all the problems in the research and development phase; this is what is called the nuclear point of no return.

Iran's nuclear reactor

With the election of President Ahmadinejad last August, the Iranians started defying the international community by converting yellow cake into UF-6 gas and advancing to the enrichment stage in January. They have been converting about ten tons a month and now have more than 100 tons. This could produce from 6 to 10 nuclear weapons. The intelligence chief estimated that if Iran acquires more centrifuges and proceeds unhampered, it would develop a nuclear arsenal by the end of the decade. And it is not only Israel that is worried; the Arab states, except for Syria were also deeply concerned.

Quo Vadis Iran? In defying the international community, Tehran appears to be throwing caution to the wind. The Israeli assessment is that Iran is riding high on soaring oil prices. In addition, the Iranian military recently conducted a big naval exercise warning that if attacked, it will retaliate against oil tankers and threaten the narrow Straits of Hormuz blocking the flow of Gulf oil.

Commenting on Irans vow to wipe Israel off the map, Vice Premier Shimon Peres has warned that such a threat cuts two ways:

However, IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz says Israel should not jump to the head of the line and realize its limitations.

David Essing

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