Former UN official: Iran may be only ‘six months’ from nuclear bomb

“Israelis need to be worried,” former IAEA official Olli Heinonen told IDF Radio.

By World Israel News Staff 

In the aftermath of Iran’s announcement that it has begun violating the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, a former leading official in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is warning that Tehran could be as close as “six months away from an atomic bomb.”

In an interview with IDF Radio, Olli Heinonen stated Wednesday that “Israelis need to be worried, and the Gulf states also have reason for concern.”

“By order of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Tehran has begun rolling back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on May 15.

“Stopping programs related to compliance with the ceiling for production of enriched uranium as well as the unlimited production of heavy water at the Arak facility are programs seriously pursued,” said the news agency.

It marked a year since U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Washington was pulling out of the nuclear pact, negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers with Iranian officials. The U.S., under Trump, has also re-imposed sanctions against Tehran.

Read  Netanyahu strikes defiant tone on Iran nuclear deal, 'from position of strength'

The Iranian threat has, in fact, produced an alliance between Israel and various Gulf states.

It has also strengthened U.S.-Saudi ties under the Trump administration. “The Saudis are even more worried about the Iranians than the Israelis are,” a White House official told World Israel News.

Before the nuclear deal was reached, Israeli officials were frequently stating assessments over how long Iran needed to attain the capability to construct a nuclear bomb.

Ultimately, the term “crossed the threshold” was used by the likes of cabinet minister, and former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yuval Steinitz, meaning that the Iranians had already achieved the ability to build a bomb, and all that was missing was a decision from the country’s leadership to go ahead with such a move.

On the other hand, Iran’s official news agency recently stated that Washington has been showing signs of “more flexible positions” and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying that Tehran is ready for talks if the U.S. “sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations.”