Jpost.com – April 30, 2008
Iran will likely have nuclear bomb technology in 2008, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday, citing an updated Israeli intelligence assessment.
In the past, the general consensus in the intelligence community has been that Iran had hit some technical difficulties with enrichment and that its attainment of nuclear capability was much further off. In fact, a recent Israeli Military Intelligence assessment showed that the "point of no return" with regards to Iran going nuclear was 2010.
However, Mofaz, a former defense minister and IDF chief of General Staff, said in a speech at Yale University, Connecticut, that Iran could have the know-how to build nuclear arms within months.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office would not comment on Mofaz's new assessment of the Iranian program.
In his speech on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the transportation minister went on to say that while the diplomatic channel was the preferred and correct option to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power, if sanctions do not prove effective, that option must be removed from the table. He said every scenario must be prepared for and that any means of ensuring Iran does not go nuclear would be valid.
Referring to the Holocaust, Mofaz said that everyone has learned that history sometimes repeats itself but that now the world had an opportunity to ensure that it doesn't. He said "this time," the Jewish people would not let it happen, expressing hope that the world, too, would not let it happen.
He called the Iranian regime the central threat to humanity in the 21st century.
Mofaz was in the US heading an Israeli delegation, which was holding meetings with US officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, within the framework of the Israel-US Strategic Dialogue.
AP contributed to this report
Last updated 04/05/2008