Israel Wants West to Deal More Urgently With Iran

(New York Times) Steven Erlanger - With Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map," Israeli officials have special reasons for concern now that Iran has defied the West and said it will resume enriching uranium. The Israelis are pressing the U.S. and the Europeans to deal more urgently with Iran. Israel has no intention for now of trying to deal with Iran alone or through military means, officials say. Israeli officials are worried that politicians are focusing on estimates of when Iran might actually have a bomb - rather than concentrating on the "point of no return," perhaps within the next year, when they argue Iran may gain enough technical knowledge to make the fissile material needed for a weapon. In a report released Thursday, David Albright and Corey Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and International Security described a number of technical problems Iran had to solve before it could begin testing its enrichment technology. "Iran will need roughly six months to one year to demonstrate successful operation" of its pilot operation. The Israelis think Iran can produce its first bomb within four to five years, Europeans estimate five years, and American officials have offered estimates of 6 to 10 years. "How long will it take? No one really knows," said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in Washington. "But I think that if the Iranians decide to go all out, they could make a bomb's worth of material a year with 2,000 centrifuges running."

2006-01-09 00:00:00

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