Iran 'is set to go nuclear by 2012'

A senior adviser to the US and Israeli governments has warned that Iran is capable of developing a stockpile of nuclear weapons by as early as 2012.

According to the adviser, who is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on Iranian defence strategy: “All the evidence is that Iran wants to have enough bombs to be able to threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.”

Unless its current progress is impeded, Iran’s nuclear capacity will increase to a level which will force a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The adviser warned: “There is nothing the West can offer Iran which comes near to what Iran will gain from going nuclear. And it has learned the lesson from North Korea that US opposition to a nuclear programme is not backed by the determination to act.”

Iran needs only to get within a year of ‘break out’ (the ability to build more than one nuclear missile) to destabilise the entire region.

“This means that the Saudis and the Gulf states will act defensively to build their own bomb.”

    Last updated: 6:32pm, February 4 2010