Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Ya'alon: Iran’s Nuke Program Set Back Three Years
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Iran now is at least three years away from being able to produce a nuclear bomb because of technical problems and sanctions, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday.
Yaalon, a former IDF Chief of Staff and considered a leading “hawk” on Iran, said that “we are talking in terms of three years” before the Islamic Republic can achieve its presumed aim of producing a nuclear weapon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said several times that Israel should be destroyed but has insisted that Iran’s nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes. ran’s uranium enrichment facilities recently suffered severe damage from the Stuxnet virus. Israel has been widely mentioned as being behind the infection of Iran’s computers with the virus.
Despite the new time frame, Yaalon said that the United States eventually will have to take actions beyond sanctions to stop Iran, which he said “must choose between continuing to seek nuclear capability and surviving.”
The Obama administration has been hoping that local unrest in Iran will engineer an overthrow of the regime currently headed by Muslim clerics and Ahmadinejad, whose re-election last year was largely viewed as fraudulent, sparking widespread unrest until riot police and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards brutally subdued the protests.