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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Iran will be able to enrich uranium in 6 months

Iran could become capable of enriching uranium in six months and develop atomic weapons in two years if it is not stopped by the West, Military Intelligence head Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said yesterday.
Tehran, which has said it will suspend uranium enrichment, insists its atomic program is aimed solely at the peaceful generation of electricity, but Washington believes Iran's nuclear energy program is a front to build a bomb.

'According to estimates, Iran is not currently capable of enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb, but it is only half a year away from achieving such independent capability, if it is not stopped by the West,' Ze'evi said in a lecture at Haifa University's National Security Studies Center.

Ze'evi said if Tehran did not stop its uranium enrichment activities, Iran would develop its first atomic weapon between 2007 and 2009.

'The Iranians can reach Portugal with nuclear weapons,' Ze'evi said. 'This doesn't worry the Europeans; they tell me that during the Soviet regime as well they were under a nuclear threat, and I try to explain to them that Iran is a different story.'"