Britain foiled Iran nuclear-weapon drive: Intelligence boss

Published: July 13, 2012

Iran has been subject to severe international economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LONDON: Britain’s foreign intelligence chief believes his agents prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but that the pariah state will become armed within two years, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

In a rare public speech, MI6 boss John Sawers told a meeting of around 100 senior civil servants in London that British agents had foiled Iran’s attempts to produce a nuclear weapon as long as four years ago, according to the Telegraph.

“You’d have Iran as a nuclear weapons state in 2008 rather than still being two years away in 2012,” the report quoted Sawers as saying last week.

When Iran does finally acquire nuclear status, the intelligence chief warned that Israel and the United States “would face huge dangers”.

“I think it will be very tough for any prime minister of Israel or president of the United States to accept a nuclear-armed Iran,” he suggested.

The US unleashed a fresh wave of sanctions against Iran on Thursday, ratcheting up pressure to convince Tehran to take seriously concerns about its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

The actions impose additional sanctions on Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation networks and identify Iranian “front” companies and banks to assist in compliance, the Treasury Department said.

“The Treasury and State Department actions target more than 50 entities tied to Iran’s procurement, petroleum, and shipping networks,” the Treasury said.

Iran has been subject to severe international economic sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, which Western powers believe masks an atomic weapons drive despite repeated denials by Tehran.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • derpton
    Jul 13, 2012 - 1:20PM

    haha reminds me of Tony Blair’s famous 45 minute deployment speech before Iraq war :)


  • Fazal ur Rehman
    Jul 13, 2012 - 8:49PM

    Iran’s supreme leader’s decree “posessing a n-bomb is haram” is a binding on Iran government to pursue a weapon program. Therefore in presence of this decree, MI6′s statement is nothing more than a propaganda stunt or is it a self praise?


  • Sonya
    Jul 14, 2012 - 9:12AM

    @Fazal ur Rehman: I think you mean “Not pursuing a weapon program” that is binding on Iran Government. As for MI6 its like “you know it was Pakistan who prevented a US attack on Saudi Arabia.


  • j. von hettlingen
    Jul 14, 2012 - 4:27PM

    Due to the Shia/Sunni conflict and Israel’s fear of “being wiped off the map” by Iran many in the Middle East don’t trust the theocratic regime in Tehran. They see a nuclear-armed Iran a threat to regional security and stability.


  • Muhammad Hassan
    Jul 23, 2012 - 3:16AM

    I don’t really understand why Israel is so fearful of a nuclear armed Iran, considering that they too posses nuclear weapons and have a army powerful enough to crush Iran in a one-on-one war. Moreover, any aggression by Iran is highly unlikely as long as Israel continues to command the support of the entire Western world. I don’t think Iranian leaders are so stupid as to launch a attack against Israel.


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