TEL AVIV – Iran could have a nuclear bomb in six to eight months, the former deputy head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned.
Olli Heinonen, who was the deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency until 2010, said that Israel and the Gulf states “have a reason to worry.”
“Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern,” he told Israel’s Army Radio. “How will you be able to ensure your security if Iran achieves nuclear abilities?”
He also said that Tehran has not been sticking to its side of the nuclear deal.
“Iran is actually weaponizing uranium enrichment without making a weapon,” he claimed.
“If they put in their maximum effort,” he said, Iran could produce nuclear weapons in as little as half a year.
Heinonen also said that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal may not have been the best move and could play into Iran’s hands.
“I think they felt comfortable [with the Trump decision]. They have the enrichment technology and they can create more centrifuges. Probably they [will be] able to withstand a lot of sanctions,” he stated.
“The Ayatollahs can handle the new sanctions, and in the meantime they’re making new centrifuges,” he said.
The head of IDF military intelligence on Wednesday claimed that the economic sanctions on Iran were having adverse effects, including Tehran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment as well as attacks — attributed by Israel and the U.S. to Iran — on UAE oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
“Iran is under growing pressure that is forcing it to take actions connected to oil and to its nuclear project — though for now there are no changes to its policies,” Maj Gen. Tamir Heyman said.