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Israeli military intelligence chief says Iran still two years from nuclear weapon

Israeli Military Intelligence has not identified any Iranian progress on developing a nuclear weapon for the uranium it is enriching, according to its outgoing chief, Major General Tamir Hayman.

“In the field of uranium enrichment, they have indeed made great progress, but in other areas of the project there is no progress at the moment nor is there a directive from the supreme leader to move forward,” the Israeli news website Mako quoted him as saying in an interview he gave before his retirement. “The reasonable estimate is that it will take them about two years to reach an operational bomb if they decide to go forward.”

He also said that Iran is struggling to develop its ability to deter Israel by developing the capabilities of its Arab allies, not least because of the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force external operations arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

He said Israel had influenced the US decision to kill Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020 by providing intelligence that he was about to launch a large-scale operation against US forces in the Gulf.

Maj Gen Hayman described Soleimani's death as a major blow as he was the architect of Iran's efforts to nurture militant groups in the region that it can use to threaten Israel and the United States. “Soleimani was the one who weaved the ties and built this Iranian military system in the Middle East,” he said.

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