Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says the Iranian nuclear program is “quite advanced” and could lead to terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons in the not-too-distant future.
In an interview with Newsweek’s Lally Weymouth in Davos, Switzerland, Barak took issue with the National Intelligence Estimate’s recent report claiming that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.
“Our interpretation is that clearly the Iranians are aiming at nuclear capability. It's probably true that … they may have slowed down the weapons group in 2003, because it was the height of American militarism,” Barak said in the interview, which was also excerpted in the Washington Post.
“We think that they are quite advanced, much beyond the level of the Manhattan Project. We suspect they are probably already working on warheads for ground-to-ground missiles…
“We don’t know if they have enough enriched uranium … but they are working on this as well. We suspect that probably they have another clandestine enrichment operation beyond the one in Natanz.”
Barak said in Israel, the “dots that we see” cannot be easily connected in a way “that does not lead to a nuclear program.”
The world’s leading intelligence communities should strive to learn if there is a clandestine enrichment operation and a weapons group working on the weapons technology, he said.
Barak refused to discuss whether Israel has the ability to conduct a military raid on Iran alone, and would say nothing when asked about Israel’s reported raid on a nuclear facility in Syrian in September.
But he did say: “It’s clear that the real risk with Iran turning nuclear is that it will be the end of the non-proliferation regime because it will open the door on active proliferation. We already had a wake-up call from the case of [Pakistani nuclear scientist] A.Q. Khan, who was ready to sell to anyone, especially if he was a good Muslim.
“It’s very dangerous that we will end up in 10 to 15 years with a nuclear device in the hands of terrorists.”
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