As if dozens of jihadis wearing suicide underwear wasn’t enough of a problem for the US and the world, the Israelis remind us today of an even bigger threat about to reach maturation. The Iranians will have the technical capability to build a nuclear weapon within weeks, and will have one completed by 2011, according to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak:
Iran will possess the technology to build a nuclear bomb by early 2010 and be able to produce one the following year, Israeli media quoted Israel’s defense minister as saying Monday.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered his assessment before the Israeli parliament’s defense and foreign affairs committee. It broadly matches assessments from other nations including the U.S., which estimates that Tehran could produce a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015.
The Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the reports and a Barak spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment. The radio and newspaper Web site reports did not identify the source of their information, but participants in the committee meetings routinely brief reporters on the proceedings.
Earlier this month, Israel’s military intelligence chief said Iran was close to an unspecified “technological breakthrough” that would enable it to build nuclear weapons. He did not elaborate on the breakthrough or say when exactly he expected Iran to have weapons-making capability.
That breakthrough could have been the neutron trigger, a device that only has an application for nuclear weapons. Two weeks ago, documents showing that Iran continued to pursue a working neutron trigger were made public, and even the IAEA noted that there could be no peaceful use for that research. Iran continues to deny the authenticity of the documents, but whether the breakthrough was on the trigger or another piece of the nuclear puzzle, Tehran has clearly continued full tilt to get the bomb.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told a gathering of diplomats recalled to Israel that time is running out:
“The international community must act,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a separate gathering of Israeli diplomats. “If sanctions aren’t imposed now, if true pressure isn’t applied now — then when will they do it?”
Meanwhile, Iran still faces a December 31 deadline to respond to an offer from the West to supply enriched uranium in exchange for an end to Iranian enrichment. The Obama administration attempted to underscore its seriousness about the deadline, but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scoffed openly at the warning. Technically, that should mean that Israel has only three days to wait for the international community to act — but unless Russia and China have decided to sacrifice their own economic health to the cause, this deadline will pass without any meaningful action, like so many others over the last several years.
Israel’s diplomatic recall and Netanyahu’s warning is meant to send another signal, both to Iran and the international community. Israel will take care of the problem their way if the world doesn’t start taking this seriously. That first bomb has Tel Aviv written on the nose cone, and everyone knows it. Israel is not about to stand by while Iran prepares a new Holocaust for them. After all, if we can pre-emptively attack Yemen for a handful of airplane bombers, Israel has the right to end an existential threat.
It would seem that Barack Obama and the West has only a few weeks left to head off unilateral Israeli action.