Once again, we are seeing more ominous warnings coming from Israel, as the concern over Iran's nuclear capabilities moves to the critical stage. It appears that Israel firmly believes that Iran is only a matter of being "weeks" away from the point of no return in having the necessary materials to assemble a nuclear weapon.
If this is true, we may see the triggering point in the cascade of events in the Middle East which could very well lead directly into the prophecies involving Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39:
A new report that says Iran may need as little as a month to produce enough uranium for a nuclear bomb is further evidence for why Israel will take military action before that happens, an Israeli defense official said Friday.
"We have made it crystal clear – in all possible forums, that Israel will not stand by and watch Iran develop weaponry that will put us, the entire Middle East and eventually the world, under an Iranian umbrella of terror," Danny Danon, Israel's deputy defense minister told USA TODAY.
"This speedy enrichment capability will make timely detection and effective response to an Iranian nuclear breakout increasingly difficult," he said.
"Breakout" refers to the time needed to convert low-enriched uranium to weapons-grade uranium. On Thursday, the Institute for Science and International Security issued a report stating that Iran could reach that breakout in as little as one month based in part on Iran's own revelations about its nuclear program.
The report comes as the White House is trying to persuade Congress not to go ahead with a bill to stiffen sanctions on Iran to force it to open up its program to inspection. The White House on Thursday invited senate staffers to a meeting on Iran strategy for negotiations that are to resume next month with Iran, it said.
Sanctions alone are not sufficient to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program, former Israeli Air Force commander Ido Nehushtan said on Saturday morning, and he indicated that the Israel Air Force was capable of setting back the Iranian nuclear program if ordered to do so.
Nehushtan said the option of a military strike on Iran, which claims its nuclear program is peaceful but has refused to honor international resolutions aimed to prevent it attaining nuclear weapons capability, must remain on the table.
He was adamant that Israel did retain the capability to realize a viable military option. “It is possible to delay the Iranian nuclear program by hitting its facilities,” he said. “I wouldn’t underestimate the capacity of the Israeli Air Force to fulfill the missions it is ordered to carry out. And I think I’ve said enough.”
Israel urged the United States to pass a new round of sanctions against Tehran, and warned that Iran could potentially have enough fissile material for a bomb within weeks.
An Israeli official issued comments on Iran’s nuclear program in response to reports from Washington that the White House wanted Congress to hold off on passing a new round of sanctions against Iran as a gesture in the midst of the ongoing six-party talks to diplomatically disarm Iran’s nuclear program.
Senior Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said his country continued to enrich uranium at the 20 percent purity level, according to Iran’s Press TV. His statement contradicted that of a senior Iranian parliamentarian last week – that Tehran had halted that activity.
Iran’s enrichment of uranium to a fissile level of 20% is a major technical step, taking it just short of the concentration needed for a nuclear weapon.
An Israeli official said on Saturday night that the entire debate over whether Iran had continued to enrich uranium at that level was “meaningless” and an attempt to divert attention from the main issue: The need for Iran to completely stop uranium enrichment at any level.
The international community, therefore, should ensure the full dismantlement of Iran’s military nuclear weapons program, and until it does, sanctions against Iran should be increased, the official said.
“A nation that can enrich uranium to 3.5% can have the ability” through innovative centrifuges “to enrich it at 90%. A nation that has the ability to recycle fuel, is almost guaranteed the ability to produce nuclear weapons,” the official said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu already spoke of this point when he addressed the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of September, the official said.
The official saw no reason why Iran, which systematically violates UN Security Council resolutions, should retain any enrichment capability or a heavy water reactor, given that these two elements are not necessary for a civilian nuclear energy program, but only for the development of nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu conveyed a similar message to US Secretary of State John Kerry when the two men met in Rome last week, and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said the same thing to US Vice President Joseph Biden when the two men met in Washington on Thursday.