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'Iran has material for 4 nuclear bombs'

world Updated: Feb 02, 2012 20:45 IST

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Iran has enough radioactive material to produce four nuclear bombs, Israel's chief of military intelligence, General Aviv Kochavi, warned on Thursday at a security conference.

"Today international intelligence agencies are in agreement with Israel that Iran has close to 100 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20%, which is enough to produce four bombs," he told the annual Herzliya conference.

"Iran is very actively pursuing its efforts to develop its nuclear capacities, and we have evidence that they are seeking nuclear weapons," he said.

"We estimate they would need a year from when the order is given to produce a weapon."

Israel and much of the international community have long accused Iran of using its nuclear programme to mask a drive for weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

The Jewish state, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, has pushed for tough sanctions against Iran and warned that it retains the option of a military strike if necessary to prevent Tehran from obtaining atomic weapons.

Kochavi also warned that Israel faces increasing threats from more conventional weapons, including "some 200,000 rockets and missiles," in the hands of Israel's enemies.

Intelligence estimates, he said, showed "one in every 10 houses in south Lebanon is a storage facility for missiles or rockets or a launch pad for devices that are increasingly accurate and destructive."

"From Lebanon, Syria and of course from Iran, they can hit the heart of our cities, and the whole region of Tel Aviv is within their reach," he said.