A display featuring missiles and a portrait of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Sept. 27, 2017. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi / TIMA via Reuters.
by Benjamin Kerstein
The IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate issued its annual assessment for 2020 on Tuesday, warning that Iran might have enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb by this spring.
According to the Israeli news site Mako, the report stated that the US assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani earlier this month would have a deterrent effect, though the situation still required close monitoring.
Despite Soleimani’s death, however, without intervention, Iran could succeed in enriching enough uranium for one nuclear weapon by spring, according to the report. But it will take another two years to be weaponized sufficiently to be placed in a warhead, the report noted.
The report nevertheless theorized that Iran did not actually want to build a nuclear weapon, but rather to obtain better “cards” for negotiations with world powers, within the framework of its primary goal — spreading the “Islamic Revolution.”
Regarding Israel’s other strategic challenges, the assessment held that on the northern front, Syria would continue to be a destabilizing and potentially explosive force. Turkey would further its involvement in the northern arena and Russia would consolidate its power there.
The assessment stated that the ruling Assad regime would decide this year on how to deal with the continuing presence and influence of its ally Iran in Syria. Israel has vowed to prevent Iran from becoming entrenched in Syria and has taken military action against the Tehran regime’s attempts to do so.
On the Palestinian front, IDF intelligence believes that while the level of terrorism will likely remain low, the political campaign against Israel will be stepped up, and the struggle over who will ultimately succeed aging Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will intensify.
In the Gaza Strip, the ruling terror group Hamas will maintain calm while attempting to build up its power, the report predicted.
Taking a broader view, the assessment foresaw the US continuing to slowly distance itself from the Middle East, while Russia moved to position itself to fill the void.