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IRAN GOES NUCLEAR IN 2005

Mossad Director Dagan: 'If Not Stopped, Iran Will Go Nuclear In 2005 And Produce Nuclear Bomb Within A Couple Of Years'

'Egypt Has Peaceful Nuclear Program; Indications That Syria and Saudi Arabia Might Have Secret Nuclear Projects'

Meir Dagan

Mossad Director, Meir Dagan presented the intelligence agency's annual assessment to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The Mossad views Iran's nuclear weapons project as the greatest threat to Israel today. The Mossad chief left no doubt that the ayatollahs in Tehran will wind up with nuclear weapons within a couple of years if they are not forced to halt.

Sixty years after the Nazis exterminated 6,000,000 Jews in Europe; Iran has vowed to destroy Israel and if not stopped, it will have nuclear weapons within a couple of years. Mossad Director Meir Dagan left no doubt that Iran now poses the greatest threat to the Jewish state.

Iran's Reactor

Iran's nuclear point of no return is the end of 2005. Mossad Chief Meir Dagan says the Iranians will then have the nuclear know-how to enrich uranium for its nuclear weapons program.

Iran has 'certainly improved' its centrifugal capability to develop UF-6; the process involves enriching natural uranium to the 90% level required for nuclear weapons. They are expected to acquire this capability by the end of 2005, paving the way to producing nuclear weapons 'within another couple of years'. The Mossad also says Iran will have enough uranium for the project. At the same time, Iran is 'fueling the flames' trying to sabotage the current attempt to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Syria - The Mossad believes Syria's President Bashar Assad is making peace overtures to Israel in order to ease American pressure. The U.S. accuses Syria of allowing Muslim extremists to infiltrate from Syrian territory into Iraq where they have attacking American forces. In fact, there is a correlation between the U.S. pressure and the Syria's public appeals to Israel. However, Dagan charges the Syrians with 'double talk.' For example, speaking to the international media they speak of no prior conditions; but in Arabic, the Syrians demand the talks must resume where they left off years ago. The intelligence assessment is there is no change between the hard line positions of Bashar Assad and his late father Hafez. The Syrians also stick to public declarations rather than approaching Jerusalem through secret channels, which are considered far more serious. The bottom line was that Syria supports terrorism; Hizballah in Lebanon and the Palestinian terror headquarters in Damascus.

Lebanon - despite the recent Syrian military deployment in Lebanon, Damascus still enforces total domination of the Lebanese state. On this score, Damascus has no intention of withdrawing its forces from Lebanese territory; the Syrian troops have simply been ordered to take a lower profile. The Mossad assessment is that Syrian views Lebanon as a strategic asset and will continue 'stirring the pot' behind the scenes. In order to enforce its will on the Lebanese, Damascus depends heavily on Hizballah. President Assad is also worried about the emerging of a new pragmatic Palestinian leadership, which will move ahead with Israel and leave Syria behind.

Nuclear Proliferation in Middle East - Although Iran is the state nearest to developing nuclear weapons there were indications that Syria might have nuclear plans. Dagan did not elaborate. Saudi Arabia might also have cut deals to acquire nuclear know-how. Egypt has a peaceful weapons program underway. The Mossad chief said a country's technological know-how was not always the decisive factor; it might be possible to buy a nuclear capability 'en bloc'.Another big headache might be the theft of nuclear material in one state and selling it secretly to another. However, Dagan said although it was hard to monitor what goes on in some countries, he had no information on nuclear materials that had gone missing. One positive development, Libya has dropped its nuclear weapons plans.

Stability of Arab Regimes - The Mossad does not perceive a short-term threat to any of the Arab regimes in the near future.

  • Egypt - no threat
  • Syria - no threat visible to President Bashar Assad
  • Jordan - reasonable stability
  • Saudi Arabia - stable for the short term; however, over the long run it was difficult to know who would be in control.

A Multimedia report: The Iranian Nuclear Threat

David Essing

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