Iran ‘very close’ to point of ‘no return’ in drive for nuclear bomb, Israel warns

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Iran has been emboldened by a lack of action by Britain and other countries across the world, Israel has warned, as a senior official said the state was now “very close” to a point of “no return” in its drive for a nuclear bomb.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Israeli official, who is involved in monitoring Iran’s activities, said the fact that Iran felt sufficiently confident to launch a drone attack on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman showed that “they don’t feel real international criticism or threat”.

The intervention came as the Pentagon said that the drone behind the attack on the ship Mercer Street, which killed a British security guard, was designed and produced by Iran. Iran’s foreign ministry described allegations that it was responsible for the strike as “baseless”.

Israel is concerned that an emboldened Iran under the country’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, will refuse to suspend the country’s nuclear programme. The official’s intervention chimes with a claim by Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, that Iran is “only around 10 weeks away” from acquiring the weapons-grade materials necessary to build a nuclear weapon.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior Israeli figure said that Iran was now “extremely close” to acquiring enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb and yet “nothing is being done” by “the international community”, which is focused on attempted talks over reviving an international pact with the country.

Photo: An Iranian man walks past a mural with Iran’s national flag in a street in Tehran, Iran. EPA-EFE/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH

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