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MOSSAD ON IRANIAN BOMB

Mossad Director Dagan: 'Iran Is Capable of Acquiring Nuclear Independence In 2006'

'After Activating Its Centrifuges, Iranians Will Start Producing Enriched Uranium Within a Period Of Months'

'It Would Then Be Only A Matter Of Time Before Iran produced Nuclear Weapons, But International Sanctions Could Still Deter Tehran'

Mossad director Meir Dagan

Maj. Gen.(res.) Meir Dagan, the chief of Mossad's Secret Service, has presented his annual assessment of Israel's state of security to the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee. If not stopped, Iran will be able to start producing enriched uranium within months of reactivating its centrifuge process. But at the same time, Dagan was optimistic the international community could deter Tehran by imposing economic sanctions.

' Iran could acquire nuclear independence and start on the production of nuclear weapons within months'. That's the assessment of Meir Dagan, the chief of the Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence service. Dagan warned that if Iran reactivates its centrifuge process, it would be only a number of months because Tehran started producing the enriched uranium required for its nuclear weapons program. In other words, it would not be a question of IF but When the Ayatollahs would get the Bomb. And the Mossad head declared: 'The Iranians are seeking nuclear independence and enriched uranium not for producing electricity; they have taken a strategic decision to acquire nuclear weapons'. After it starts producing the enriched uranium, it would then be only a matter of time before they developed the 80 % fissile material required for nuclear weapons. Several Knesset members later said that within one or two years Iran could develop nuclear weapons but Dagan himself did not set any such time frame. The Mossad chief did say there has been no let up in Iran's building of nuclear installations. The Iranian leadership believes the failure of the International Atomic Energy to act, has eroded the threat of international sanctions.

Iranian nuclear reactor

However, Dagan was upbeat that the international move to block Iran's drive for a nuclear arsenal would pay off. He noted that past efforts have delayed the Iranian nuclear weapons program by some two years. The Mossad believes that Iran's economic situation has been going from bad to worse. The price of basic commodities has soared, capital is fleeing the country, and Iran imports 40 % of fuel based products as well as spare parts. Therefore, Iran would be very 'sensitive' to sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council if it gets around to imposing them in 2006.

Al Qaeda: There are signs the international terrorists are showing mounting interest in Israel and Jewish targets. However, al Qaeda has not developed its own infrastructure in the territories.

Conventional Weapons Threat: Israel is not seriously threatened by a conventional weapons attack. In fact, Egypt and Jordan cooperate with Israel on fighting terrorism because they also feel threatened by the International Jihad movement.

Iraqi 'Graduates': The Mossad chief noted that it was 'absurd' in a way that an American military success in Iraq could lead to the foreign terrorists returning home to threaten other countries Israel included. This would be comparable to the Muslim fighters the U.S. trained to combat the Soviet forces in Afghanistan who later formed the backbone of international Islamist terrorism.

David Essing

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