Iranian nuke site in Natanz
West expects Israel to bomb - Kuperwasser
Photo: Ofer Amram
The West believes that Israel is aware of the magnitude of the Iranian nuclear threat and assumes that the Jewish state will bomb Iran, ex-IDF intelligence officer Yossi Kuperwasser told Ynet Tuesday.
Kuperwasser, the former head of the IDF's Research and Assessment Division, believes that the Pentagon source's assessment that Israel will likely strike in Iran by the end of the year shows that the West assumes Israel will do the dirty work for it.
"That way, in case of a global flare-up, Israel could be blamed," Kuperwasser says.
Top Pentagon official warns of 'increased likelihood' of Israeli raid against Iranian nuclear facilities, ABC News reports. US Department of Defense sets two 'red lines' Israel won't tolerate crossed by Iran – Natanz reaching critical level of uranium enrichment, Tehran acquiring Russian air defense system.
The former senior officer, who for many years dealt with Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, told Ynet the most problematic issue was Tehran's ability to produce industrial quantities of high-grade uranium.
"Within a year to a year and a half, the Iranians will have enough uranium for a nuclear bomb," Kuperwasser says. "This is also the American intelligence estimate, which at the time was harshly criticized, and rightfully so. As far as we know, the Iranians have not yet reached this capability…at the same time, they continue their research uninterrupted."
Turning his attention to the SA-20 aerial defense system purchased by Iran from Russia, Kuperwasser admits that the missile system could make an aerial strike considerably more difficult to carry out.
"This is a missile system that can to protect against missiles and airplanes. The Iranians have another aerial system today, but they view it as inadequate. Clearly, every addition to the aerial defense system may minimize the effectiveness of an aerial strike," he says.
'West is sensitive to pain, money'While the West has increasingly internalized the Iranian nuclear threat, the process has been too slow and insufficient, the former military officer says.
"The West realizes that this is an Iranian challenge to the existing world order, aiming for Islam to enjoy a different status," Kuperwasser says. "Finally people have woken up, but the question is whether officials in the US and Europe realize the gravity at this time. It looks as though everyone is trying to shift the responsibility to someone else, and they believe that ultimately, if nothing changes, Israel will do the job for the West."
Kuperwasser says the Iranians are continuing their nuclear project unabated, in the belief that nobody will stand in their way.
"Iran realizes that the West is sensitive to pain and money, and won't embark on an operation that would significantly boost oil prices," he says. "Every time the possibility of a military strike is raised, the Revolutionary Guard's commander speaks out and warns against the chaos. They believe that the likelihood of a strike is very low."
"In this poker game, the Iranians are leading at this time," Kuperwasser says. "The pressure should be boosted considerably, and it should be made clear that a military move will be carried out if needed…if the Iranians believe that the West is serious, they will think twice about whether it is worthwhile for them to continue."