At a national security conference in Herzliya today, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned that the Iranian regime has “already built missile capacity,” and cited reports it is developing a missile with a reach of 10,000 kilometers – a range that was “aimed at America, not us,” he added.
“The clock keeps ticking,” said Ya’alon. “We should be talking sooner rather than later…So if anyone here is scared or fears the prospects for the Middle East and the world, they should be determined in the next few months to take steps against the nuclear action in Iran.”
IDF intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi estimated Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium to build four bombs. So far time has been on the side of the Iranian regime, which is reportedly pumping out uranium at enrichment levels sufficient for building a bomb at a rate of around 15 kilograms per month. At the conference, Kochavi said Iran already has 100 kilograms enriched to 20 percent, which experts say is enough to build at least one bomb. Kochavi added it also has 4 tons of lower-grade uranium, which is mainly being used to manufacture higher-enriched fuel.
Iran’s development of long-range missiles isn’t a secret, but coming from a high-profile figure like Ya’alon, the comments highlight that a nuclear Iran presents as much of a threat to the United States as it does to Israel. The question is whether the Obama administration will be able to project enough strength during the election year to convince the Iranian regime that military action is a real possibility, if the latest round of tough sanctions fails.
Full disclosure: I am visiting Herzliya on a press junket sponsored by the Emergency Committee for Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy organization.