Yadlin: Iranian nuclear program crossed 'red line'
Iran has crossed the nuclear red line set by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at a Tel Aviv conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies, which he heads, Yadlin later clarified the remarks, saying, “If Iran continues to enrich uranium at its current rate, toward the end of the year it will cross the red line in a clear manner.”
Earlier, the former army intelligence head said, “Despite all of the attempts made to stop the nuclear program, no one is able to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.”
Tuesday’s comments are in line with an assessment made by Yadlin in February, when he said that, at its current rate of uranium enrichment, the Islamic Republic would reach nuclear breakout capacity between June and August.
Netanyahu has defined Israel’s red line regarding Iran as the possession of 250 kg. of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level, known as medium-enriched uranium.
According to an International Atomic Energy Agency report released in February, Tehran has not crossed that point, but has already amassed 167 kg. of uranium enriched to that level.
“By the summer, Iran will be a month or two away from a decision about the bomb,” Yadlin said at the INSS conference, adding that the decision whether to advance beyond that will be made after Iran’s presidential elections in June.
Once Iran amasses sufficient enriched uranium, “it will be very hard to stop,” Yadlin said. “If the US, Iran and Israel all stand behind their announcements, then we are on a collision course toward the end of the year.”
According to the former Military Intelligence head, Tehran already has enough low-enriched uranium for six bombs, and nearly enough medium-enriched uranium for one bomb.
“They have no problem converting back what they allegedly turned to nuclear fuel. Within a week, it could be turned into nuclear material for a bomb,” he warned, referring to Iran’s decision in 2012 to reduce international tensions by converting some of its enriched uranium to fuel rods.
In reality, Yadlin told Channel 2, the uranium was not converted to fuel rods, but rather, to uranium oxide, which is easy to turn back to nuclear material, a process that can be completed within a week, he said.
In London last week, Netanyahu told the BBC that Iran has crept up to the red line for the production of a nuclear weapon – which he dramatically referenced when he held up a diagram of a bomb as he spoke at the United Nations General Assembly opening session in the fall – but has not crossed it. He explained that Iran was 80 kg. of medium-enriched uranium away from the required amount for one atomic weapon.
“It takes 250 kg. of 20% enriched uranium to manufacture one nuclear bomb,” he said. “They’ve gone up from 110 to roughly 170 kg.
That’s if you want precise measurement.”
On Tuesday, Yadlin noted that the Arak nuclear reactor would become operational by 2014. He stressed that without a drastic change in the sanctions placed on the Islamic Republic, it would continue buying time and expanding its nuclear program.
“There will be no agreement if there is no motivation to reaching an agreement,” he said, adding that the credibility of American military action is a condition to the success of the negotiations.
“This credibility will be achieved if the US aims a precise strike to stop the Iranian nuclear program and shows that it can deal with the escalation that would follow this strike.”
Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.