Iran can make N-bomb `fairly quickly`: Israeli intelligence
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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 18:24
  
Jerusalem: Iran could manufacture an atomic bomb 'fairly quickly' as there has been no change in its 'nuclear vision', Israel's Military Intelligence chief Maj Gen Aviv Kochavi said on Tuesday.

"Iran still seeks to reach the status of a nuclear threshold state, in which it could manufacture a nuclear bomb fairly quickly and when it decided to do so," Kochavi wrote in a position paper late last month.

He authored the paper in his capacity as the "national intelligence assessor", the Ha'aretz daily reported today.

Kochavi pointed out that since the election of moderate Hassan Rohani, Iran was going through a process of deep internal political change of a kind not seen in many years. Rohani has reached out to the West to ease sanctions.

Rohani's victory in the presidential poll sparked a process of deep change that cannot be ignored, Kochavi argued. He described the changes as "significant" and even "strategic".

The Israeli intelligence official, in particular, cited the increased strength of moderates in Iran's parliament and the fact that 51 per cent of the people voted for Rohani, who was not the preferred candidate of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Kochavi based his analysis on the stated intention of Rohani and his cabinet to promote internal reform, increase Iran's openness to the West and end economic sanctions on the country.

Two senior government officials familiar with the contents of Kochavi's paper reportedly said it surveys the situation in Iran since Rohani's election from several standpoints, including the internal political situation, the mood among the Iranian people, the regime's nuclear policy, Iran's involvement in terrorism and the Syrian civil war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have received the paper a few days before he left for the US in late September to attend the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu made no reference to the internal changes in Iran's polity during his meeting with US President Barack Obama or in his address to the UN General Assembly.

In press interviews too, the premier either chose to ignore the findings or downplayed them.

In his UN address, Netanyahu said there was no substantive difference between Rohani and either Khamenei or former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, describing the new leader as a "wolf in sheep's clothing".

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 18:24


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