Israeli-American scholar on nuclear proliferation tells 'Post' that Iranian advances limiting Israeli ability to launch effective attack.
The chance for a military strike to succeed in stopping Iran’s race toward a nuclear weapon is becoming “slimmer” as Tehran continues to produce and disperse its enriched uranium and technology, according to Prof. Avner Cohen, a premier Israeli-American scholar on nuclear proliferation.
“I think we are moving to the point that the chance of success for doing something effective militarily is getting slimmer,” Cohen warned in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“The fact that the Iranian nuclear program is further dispersed, that the time for Iran to reach a breakout capability gets shorter and that material can be moved quickly from site to site, would require a very dynamic intelligence capability to know where everything is,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Cohen, even if Israel had all of the intelligence it would still be impossible “to know that you know everything important since you do not know what you do not know.”
At the same time, he said that Iran’s “salami approach” – dispersing its enriched uranium to a number of facilities, its general policy of making only small and invisible-like advances in its program, as well as its proven ability to enrich uranium to 20 percent levels – showed that “Iran is not only positioning itself on the bomb threshold, but it appears to gear itself to slowly crossing the threshold and becoming a nuclear weapon state.”
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s visit to Israel last week, Cohen said, was likely part of an American effort to ensure that Israel is not planning any unilateral military steps that would not be coordinated first with Washington.
“My gut sense is that something happened in recent weeks which was interpreted as if Israel had made clear that the military option is alive and kicking, and Panetta wanted to make sure that Israeli independent action will not happen,” he said.