Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and war monger, John Bolton, told Israel Radio today that there are only three days left for Israel to attack Iran if it wants to stop the Islamic Republic from manufacturing nuclear weapons. Earlier in the week, Bolton said, "If Israel wants to do something against the reactor in Bushehr, it must do so in the following eight days." Bolton has repeatedly stated that everything must be done to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including a military attack.
However, the uranium that will power the Bushehr reactor is imported from Russia, while the reactor's spent fuel - from which Iran could hypothetically extract plutonium if it had the technology to do so, and if it weren't under the scrutiny of IAEA inspectors - will be removed from Iran by the Russians.Paul Brannan, a senior analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security said the Bushehr site is not a proliferation threat since Iran does not have the ability to reprocess the spent fuel into nuclear weapons-grade material.
Whereas Netanyahu likes to tell Western audiences that Iran is led by an irrational "messianic cult", that view is not shared by Israeli military and intelligence analysts, according to Yossi Alpher, a Mossad veteran and former adviser to Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. Alpher argues that in light of the potentially catastrophic consequences, Israel would only take military action if Iran was in a position to launch a nuclear attack on the Jewish State in an "extremely short" time frame - and that a strike could set back the Iranian program for a significant period of time. The fact is Iran is nowhere close to the ability to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. Israeli leaders tend to accept that even an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unlikely to initiate a nuclear exchange that would be suicidal for Tehran given the size of Israel's own nuclear deterrent.Instead, they warn that an Iranian bomb's primary impact would be to end Israel's strategic dominance in the regional balance of power.
The U.S. intelligence consensus holds that while Iran is developing the infrastructure necessary to create a bomb and also doing theoretical research on bomb design, it is not currently developing nuclear weapons nor has it made the decision to do so. Its goal is generally viewed as "breakout" capacity, i.e. the ability to build a bomb relatively quickly if it chose to do so - and even that capacity still appears to be some way off.