Intelligence chief in Iran warning
Jul 13 2012
MI6 agents have set back Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear weapons by at least six years, but Tehran will succeed in acquiring them by 2014, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service has warned.
At that point, the US and Israel will face a "very tough" decision over whether to launch a military strike against the Middle Eastern country, said Sir John Sawers.
Sir John's comments, reported in the Daily Telegraph, are the most public warning yet of the depth of concern within the security establishment about the nuclear ambitions of the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Britain has been a driving force behind international sanctions designed to persuade Tehran to abandon hopes of nuclear weapons capability, and has also been part - alongside the US, Russia, China, France and Germany - of the E3+3 diplomatic offensive to find a peaceful resolution.
Speaking to an audience of senior civil servants in London, the MI6 chief made clear he did not believe Iranian claims that its nuclear programme is intended purely for civilian energy purposes.
"The Iranians are determinedly going down a path to master all aspects of nuclear weapons; all the technologies they need," said Sir John. "It's equally clear that Israel and the United States would face huge dangers if Iran were to become a nuclear weapon state."
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