Iran could have enough enriched uranium for five nuclear weapons, Israel’s Defence Minister claimed on Thursday, warning Tehran that working towards achieving weapons-grade enrichment could “ignite the region”.
Yoav Gallant's comments echo international concerns that have mounted over the past months over Iran enriching uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
Experts have said that Iran now has enough fuel to build “several” atom bombs if it chooses.
“Make no mistake: Iran will not be satisfied by a single nuclear bomb,” Mr Gallant said on Thursday during a visit to Athens.
Uranium enriched for use in nuclear power plants is normally below 20 per cent, while 90 per cent enrichment is considered to be weapons grade.
“So far, Iran has gained material enriched to 20 per cent and 60 per cent for five nuclear weapons,” Mr Gallant said.
“Iranian progress, enrichment to 90 per cent, would be a grave mistake on Iran’s part and could ignite the region.”
Israel’s leadership argues that Iran can only be stopped from developing nuclear weapons by the threat of military action, while the US publicly favours a return to multilateral diplomatic efforts.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in March it would restart inspections and camera-monitoring at some Iranian nuclear facilities after it reported that particles of highly enriched uranium had been found at an underground nuclear site.
Iran's nuclear programme — in pictures
In Athens, Mr Gallant was hosted by Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos. The two promised to further enhance military co-operation.
Greece last year launched a new international pilot training centre, assisted by Israel and Israeli defence contractor Elbit in a $1.65 billion deal.
Last month, Israel agreed to provide Greece with Spike anti-tank missiles in an agreement worth $400 million.