Iran has the capacity to build four nuclear bombs today, the chief of the army’s intelligence branch said Thursday morning.
“They have basically cleared the hurdle of capability,” said Director of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi. “The decision of whether to proceed, of whether it’s worth their while, is in the hands of the Ayatollah.”
Kochavi was speaking at the Herzliya Conference about the effects of the political turmoil in the Middle East. The essence of the change, he said, was that after decades of autocratic rule the citizens of the region had seized political power. But the lack of stable leadership has fostered a power struggle across the region, a battle for hegemony between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.
Iran currently suffers from an inflation rate of 24 percent and a rising unemployment rate of 16 percent. Moreover, “a crescent of Sunni influence” is beginning to coalesce as the power of religion rises and the power of nationalism wanes, he said.
The axis of evil is being hit on several fronts, Kochavi said. Even Hezbollah has been weakened by the changes in Syria and internal pressures in Lebanon. “But the real test,” he said, for all of the Middle East’s 300 million citizens, one third of whom are between the ages of 15-30, “will be the economy.”