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Israeli Intel Says Iran Capable of Producing Nuclear Bomb

A top Israeli general says Iran is capable of producing a nuclear bomb.

Israel's military intelligence chief told the country's Cabinet that Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" of nuclear capability. Major-General Amos Yadlin said this does not mean that Iran actually has an atomic bomb, but that it has the expertise and materials needed to build one.

So how long would it take Iran to acquire the bomb? Israeli analyst Barry Rubin says time is running out.

"There is a big gap between material and bomb," said Barry Rubin. "But basically, people who are well-informed estimate that Iran will need between 15 months to over three years."

Rubin says that is a significant timetable considering there is a new administration in Washington, and in a few weeks, there is due to be a new government in Israel.

"We are entering a period in which we can assume that during the administration of this president of the United States and during the term of this prime minister of Israel, Iran will obtain nuclear weapons and those governments will have to make major decisions," he said.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about Iran's intentions since 2005, when the Iranian president threatened to wipe the Jewish state "off the map."

The intelligence report has raised fresh speculation about whether Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Nationalist leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who is forming the next Israeli government, has warned that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and that there is a military option.