be able to manufacture an atom bomb within one to two years from the moment it decides to do so, Military Intelligence Chief Major-General Aviv Kochavi estimated Tuesday.
In his first appearance before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Military Intelligence chief said that the question is not when Iran will have a bomb, but how long it will take it to produce it from the moment Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei makes the decision.
"Based on the infrastructure, technology and amount of uranium Iran has accumulated, they will be able to finish developing nuclear weapons within one to two years f
rom the moment the leader decides."
He added that this estimate is not relevant for a missile-mounted nuclear warhead which would require several years more. Nevertheless, he noted "the activation of nuclear weapons does not have to involve a missile."
According to Kochavi, the Iranian regime is maintaining stability despite the sanctions. "The sanctions do not affect the nuclear program and Iran's military empowerment," he said. "On the other hand, the sanctions are a burden on Iran on the financial and civilian levels."
Referring to the crisis in Lebanon the
MI chief noted, "It's unclear whether Hezbollah is trying to take over Lebanon as it realizes this goes against its interest, in light of the limitations it will force upon it."
According to Kochavi, "Hezbollah has learned from the Hamas model. It wants to influence the regime but not be the official ruler." The effects of the Second Lebanon War are still evident in Hezbollah, he said.
Commenting on Syria, the MI chief said that Damascus continues to tighten its relations with radical axis powers on the operative level, while developing connections with Europe without having to pay a price. He added that Assad believes that time is on his side as far as the peace process with Israel is concerned.
The Palestinian Authority prefers pursuing negotiations with Israel, Kochabi said.