Amid the Ukraine-Russia war in Europe, the world is slipping precariously into another crisis, with Russia mulling the supply of the S-400 air defense system to Iran.
According to the latest reports, Moscow might veer around to supplying the most sophisticated missile defense system to Tehran as it finds fewer friends and a plethora of enemies on the world stage due to the protracted fight in Ukraine.
Israel Has to Carry Out the Strike Within 2 Years
There is no confirmation if Russia will supply these cutting-edge defense equipment to Iran. If Russia does decide to supply S-400 systems to Iran, Israel's next move will be awaited. According to strategists, it will take at least two years before the newly offered S-400 air defense system to become operational. This means Israel will have only two years to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and take down its nuclear weapons program.
We've Waited Long, Netanyahu Says
Israel has been saying unambiguously that it will never let Iran make nuclear weapons that would pose an existential threat to the Jewish nation. Even last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that stopping Iran from developing a nuclear bomb was right on top of the agenda for him.
"The longer you wait, the harder that becomes ... We've waited very long. I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said during a security conference in Tel Aviv last week, according to Bloomberg .
There have been at least two instances in which Israel has carried out pre-emptive strikes to stop rivals from getting hands on nuclear weapons. Tel Aviv bombed Iraq's nuclear sites 1981 and those inside Syria in 2007.
Israel has always mulled taking down Iran's nuclear facilities, but as years go by the task has grown more intractable than before. Israel has systematically targeted and taken down top Iranian officials and scientists that it saw as a threat to the Jewish state.
However, a direct hit inside Iran to destroy the country's nuclear sites will result in nothing less than an open war with Iran.
Iran Close to Making Nuclear Bomb
Reports emerged at the end of last year that Iran was inching closer to making a nuclear bomb. In November, Iran said in a report to the IAEA that it was enriching uranium to 60 percent purity at the Fordow nuclear site. "In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has informed the agency that it has started enriching uranium to 60% purity at Fordow site," Iranian news agency ISNA said, citing officials. Iranian authorities have said the start of enrichment at Fordow is a retaliatory measure against the IAEA's demand to curb uranium enrichment.
Earlier in July last year, the UN nuclear watchdog had said that Iran possessed 43 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60 percent. This quantity would be technically enough to build one nuclear weapon.
Uranium needs to be enriched to 90 percent to make weapons grade fissile material. However, with the JCPOA nuclear deal that the US and western allies signed with Iran in 2015 falling apart, Iran has been able to advance rapidly in its secretive nuclear pursuit.
'Tehran Technically Capable of Making Bomb'
In July, a senior Iranian leader revealed that the country is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb. The senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran can make the nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to go ahead or not. "Iran has the technical ability to build a nuclear bomb ... but has not made a decision to build an atomic bomb", said Kamal Kharrazi.
In December 2022, Israel's defense minister said Tel Aviv could attack arch foe Iran, in order to thwart its nuclear weapons program. According to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israel could launch an attack on Iran in two or three years, in order to take down its nuclear weapons facilities.
Gantz said Israel has significantly increased its preparedness in recent years and is preparing for the possibility of an attack on Iran.