Yadlin: Tehran needs 12-18 months to build a nuclear bomb

Ex-IDF intel chief Yadlin says once Tehran makes decision to build a nuclear bomb it'll take 12-18 months.

November 29, 2011 15:03
3 minute read.
Yadlin speaks at the INSS, November 2011.

Yadlin INSS 311. (photo credit: Yaakov Katz)


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There is time before the use of military force will be necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear program, former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin hinted on Tuesday, saying that once Tehran makes the decision to build a nuclear bomb it will take 12-18 months.

Yadlin spoke at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv where he now serves as the director. He completed his term as head of Military Intelligence last November.

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The cause of a blast on Monday in the city of Isfahan – home to a key Iranian nuclear facility – continued to remain a mystery on Tuesday.

Yadlin hinted that it was possible that once the Iranians go to the “breakout” stage and begin enriching military-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon, other countries in the world will be prepared to launch a military strike against Iran. He said that Israel did not need to take action until it reaches that stage.

Meridor: 'Not every blast in Iran is reconnaissance'

Yadlin seemed to share the opinion of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who has said that Israel should not consider military action until a “sword is against its throat,” meaning until Iran is already building a nuclear weapon.

“Once the Iranians decide they are going to the breakout stage and they openly declare publicly that they are moving forward to a nuclear weapon there will be new opportunities that do not exist today,” said Yadlin, “and this requires us to maintain a dialogue with countries that have better [military] capabilities to deal with this threat.”

He said that the Iranians already have enough lowenriched uranium for 4-5 nuclear weapons, but that they are waiting until they feel that the price they will pay is low before building the bomb.

“The Iranians will [build the bomb] only when they feels that the risks are low. This has not happened,” he said. “What has happened is that the Iranians have obtained all of the necessary components – they can enrich uranium, they have missiles and the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report shows they are also working on the weapon.”

Yadlin said that while Iran will retaliate against a future Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, it will not be interested in a longterm conflict with Israel.

“There will definitely be a response but I propose that Hezbollah and Hamas capabilities should not lead the debate since these are groups that we could find ourselves up against any given day,” Yadlin said.

“There are international mechanisms to limit the Iranian response – by the world and Israel which has ways to make it clear to the Iranians that they will pay a heavy price for launching a prolonged war.”

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