The Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network published a 2012 cable allegedly from the Mossad, which said that Iran was not building a nuclear bomb, a statement that appears at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments a month earlier at the UN.
But sources in Jerusalem said the two assessments were not contradictory.
The cable, which was sent by the Israeli intelligence agency to South Africa’s State Security Agency in October of that year, said that at the “bottom line,” Tehran had not begun work to build a bomb, but was “working to close gaps in areas that appear legitimate such as enrichment reactors.”
Still, the enrichment activities undertaken by the Iranian scientists would cut the time needed to construct a nuclear weapon, should it be given the directive, the Mossad cable reportedly said.
The Iranian scientists’ activities “will reduce the time required to produce weapons from the time the instruction is actually given,” it said.
The assessment appeared to contradict statements issued by Netanyahu just a month earlier, in a UN address on Iran’s nuclear program. Holding the now-famous chart with markers of 70 percent enrichment, and the “red line” at 90%, Netanyahu had said that “by next spring, by most at next summer at current enrichment rates [Iran] will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.”
At that “final stage,” Iran will have produced weapons-grade uranium, Netanyahu said.