Israel’s Naftali Bennett has warned that Iran is “dangerously close” to getting a nuclear bomb unless the West gets tough on Tehran.
In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph newspaper this Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Iran is becoming a nuclear power by obtaining the ability to build a nuclear bomb and Western allies are just “waking up” to the threat; “Iran is enriching uranium at an unprecedented rate and moving dangerously close to getting their hands on nuclear weapons,” Bennett said.
He also noted that to tackle this dangerous threat, Britain and other world powers must keep up the pressure on the Islamic Republic. “Without pressure from the west, the Islamic regime in Iran could get their hands on a nuclear bomb very soon,” he said, adding also that “the world must take a firm stance … Iran’s nuclear program won’t stop until it’s stopped.”
Israel has previously said it could carry out a pre-emptive strike against Iran should it come close to successfully building a nuclear bomb.
In the latest rounds of tension over Iran’s nuclear program, the UN nuclear watchdog adopted a resolution last week, rebuking Tehran for failing to cooperate with the IAEA.
The resolution urged Iran “to fulfill its legal obligations, and cooperate with the IAEA”.
The move was welcomed by Israel, which said it was a “first and necessary step towards the goal of restoring Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations”.
In reaction to the resolution, Iran said a day later on Wednesday that it disconnected a number of the IAEA cameras monitoring its nuclear sites.
“As of today, the relevant authorities have been instructed to cut off the On-Line Enrichment Monitor (OLEM) and the flow meter cameras of the agency,” Iran’s nuclear organization said in a statement. These cameras were operating as a “goodwill gesture” which was not “appreciated” by the IAEA but considered an “obligation,” it added.
How far has Iran gone?
Bennet’s comments come while Iran is said to have begun enriching uranium at levels of more than 60 percent, which would provide enough material to build a bomb. Tehran denies it is building nuclear weapons.
Iran is now able to enrich uranium by up to 60%. this is an important number because it means Tehran has the ability and the technology to increase the enrichment level to more than 90%. Good to mention here that 90% enriched uranium is only used for building nuclear bombs.
For this reason, experts say that Iran is only a few weeks away from building the nuke bomb. According to arms control experts, moving from 60 to 90 percent would not pose a technical challenge for Iran.
In addition, the Islamic Republic also has enough uranium to go nuclear. Late last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report that Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent had grown to 43.3 kilograms (95 pounds), which represented an increase of nearly 10 kilograms (22 pounds) compared to three months ago.
Experts said that the stockpile would provide roughly enough material for an atomic bomb if Iran took the additional step of enriching the uranium to 90 percent purity.
“Iran has now accumulated enough enriched uranium to be able to quickly produce more than a significant quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) for one bomb,” said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association think tank, adding also that “the time it would take them to do that can now be measured in days, not months or weeks.”