The former head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission believes Iran is more than a decade away from a nuclear weapon and that the Islamic Republic may not even want “the bomb,” according to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth (Ynet news).
An insider in Israel’s nuclear program believes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is employing needless fearmongering when it comes to Iran’s atomic aspirations, in order to further his own political aims.
Brigadier General (res.) Uzi Eilam, who for a decade headed the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, does not believe that Tehran is even close to having a bomb, if that is even what it really aspires to.
“The Iranian nuclear program will only be operational in another 10 years,” declares Eilam, a senior official in Israel’s atomic program. “Even so, I am not sure that Iran wants the bomb.”
As far as Eilam’s credibility on the issue, Ynet explains that he “comes from the heart of Israel’s secret security mechanisms, having served in senior roles in the defense establishment that culminated in a decade as the head of the atomic agency…Before his decade heading the Atomic Energy Commission, he was head of the IDF’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure…”
This is not only a rebuke of Netanyahu’s hardline rhetoric on Iran and its nuclear program, but a corrective to the nearly sacrosanct political dogma in the U.S. that Iran is on the verge of deployable nukes. It’s hard to find anyone – from talking-point-reciting politicians to cable news talking heads and supposedly respectable journalists – that fails to refer to the “Iranian nuclear weapons weapons program” or Iran’s “unrelenting pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
This, despite Iran’s cooperation and compliance in unprecedented negotiations with world powers that aim to partially retard and comprehensively limit their civilian nuclear program. Eilam’s heresy isn’t the first Israeli official of prominence to push back on the Netanyahu government’s Iran policy, which at this point amounts to denying Iran’s right under the NPT to develop any nuclear power for civilian use.
Eilam’s comments also coincide with the current consensus in the U.S. intelligence community on Iran’s nuclear program, that it is not intended to develop weapons.
So why does virtually every politician and commentator, left and right, continue to propagate this falsehood?