Exclusive: Iran forging ahead toward nuclear bomb, officials warn

As Israel is focused on the war in Gaza, the northern border and the West Bank, Iran is seen making strides to complete needed components for a nuclear warhead; military response unlikely amid security challenges and lack of international support

Iran is forging ahead with its plan to build a nuclear warhead, Israeli officials said on Friday. They said rather than continuing their uranium enrichment, the Iranians were now working to obtain the elements needed to produce the war head with "very concerning actions."
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To build a nuclear bomb two things are needed. The first is plutonium or enriched military grade uranium. The best way to thwart the Iranian plans is through uranium enrichment since Tehran signed the non-nuclear proliferation agreement and is prohibited from taking steps to enrich uranium without international oversight.

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המתקן בנתנז, רפאל גרוסי ראש סבא"א, נשיא איראן איברהים ראיסי
המתקן בנתנז, רפאל גרוסי ראש סבא"א, נשיא איראן איברהים ראיסי
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Uranium enrichment facility
(Photo: EPA, AP)
For that reason, Israel and its officials in the Mossad and the IDF have focused, according to international media reports, on efforts to slow down or stop uranium enrichment by Iran.
Amid great efforts, they slowed the enrichment process over years, until their attempts collapsed. Iran received the greatest gift from then U.S. president Donald Trump who backed out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Since then, rather than having the most effective supervision, Iran has been allowed to remove any restrictions placed on it. In 2024, there is no doubt of its ability to reach the military grade within the shortest time span.
The second element is the ability to load the uranium (or plutonium) on a military device that can create the chain reaction needed to detonate the bomb. This requires knowledge and technical ability, and also components such as accurate detonators. It is estimated that Iran is one to two years away from achieving that objective.
But three senior Israeli officials, one from the security establishment, another from the political leadership and the third, who was privy to classified material, said in the past week that things have been progressing quickly.
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נתנז איראן
נתנז איראן
Uranium enrichment facility in Natanz Iran
(Photo: AP)
Iran has been putting out feelers to obtain the needed components to produce the bomb, although by some accounts those efforts have been going on for a while. The officials don't believe Iran is currently on the cusp of obtaining a nuclear device, but the officials said Israel was sounding the alarm – as it sees it must – to its allies, primarily the United States.
Iran has profited most from the October 7 massacre and the ensuing war and its prints are evident from Hezbollah in Lebanon, through Hamas in Gaza and all the way to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Few in Israel believe a military action against Iran is an option now while the IDF is involved in the war in Gaza and is stretched to the limit on the West Bank and on the northern border. International legitimacy for any such action is all but non-existent.
The focus in the intelligence community is less on the Iranian nuclear program and more on where Sinwar is hiding and Tehran is taking full advantage of that fact.
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