PAKISTAN NEWS LONDON: Western powers should be presumed that Iran could have nuclear weapons next year, and the Israeli intelligence assessment in 2015 might be too optimistic, the British Defence Minister Liam Fox said Monday.
Meir Dagan, former head of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, said this month that Israel believes that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear bomb before 2015.
But Fox, answering questions in parliament, said Dagan was “wrong to suggest that we should always seek the most optimistic end of the spectrum” estimation of the nuclear capability of Iran.
“We know from experience, particularly what happened in North Korea that the international community can be entered in assuming that things are rosier than they really are,” he said.
“We should be quite clear that it is entirely possible that Iran could be 2012, at the end of that spectrum, and act in accordance with the notice,” he said.
He did not say whether his statement was based on any intelligence to assess available in Britain for close U.S. ally and one of the six powers made no progress in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program this month.
“Iran has no nuclear weapons, according to the assessment, but it continues uranium enrichment and construction of a heavy water reactor, which both have military potential,” said M . Fox.
The UN Security Council has approved four rounds of sanctions against the refusal of Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment, which Western powers suspect is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is peaceful energy needs.
Dagan estimate was in line with caution, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the use of force against Iran, which has vowed to avenge Israel’s interests and of any U.S. attack on its nuclear facilities.
Dagan was inconsistent last week, the Israeli military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochav, who said the sanctions were not considered Iran’s nuclear program, and could produce bombs within two years.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the assessment should not lead Dagan international resolve to maintain pressure on Iran through sanctions. – Reuters