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Senior Israeli officials head to Washington for talks on Iranian nuclear threat

Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer arrives to a government conference at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Jan. 29, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Two senior Israeli officials will reportedly arrive in Washington next week for talks on the looming Iranian nuclear threat. 

Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi are expected to discuss their increasing concerns are increasingly concerned about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s progress in its nuclear program, with United States Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl warning this week that Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb within only 12 days. 

Dermer and Hanegbi, who are close allies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are scheduled to meet with senior officials of the Biden administration, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. 

Nuclear-program inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency recently leaked their concern that the Iranian regime’s uranium enrichment had reached 84% purity, dangerously close to the 90% weapons-grade level. 

“Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA, it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days,” said Kahl last week. 

However, American and Israeli intelligence agencies said they believe Tehran would need one or two more years to reach an operational nuclear bomb. 

In addition, the Biden administration is not convinced that the ayatollah regime has decided to manufacture nuclear weapons. 

During a recent interview, CIA Director Bill Burns said that Washington doesn’t “believe that the supreme leader in Iran has yet made a decision to resume the weaponization program that we judge that they suspended or stopped at the end of 2003.”

Israeli and Western pundits fear that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons would trigger a dangerous nuclear arms race in the already combustible Middle East. Israel has its own existential concerns with regard to a nuclear enemy, as the Islamic Republic has repeatedly threatened to "wipe the Jewish state off the map." 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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