01 February 2011
Britain's Defense Secretary Liam Fox has told the House of Commons that Iran may be capable of building a nuclear weapon by next year. Fox disagreed with the retired Mossad Director Meir Dagan who had said earlier this month that Iran would not be able to build a nuclear bomb before 2015. Fox said the West should be wary of optimism over Iran's nuclear program and make decisions on the basis of the most pessimistic assessment of its capability. His remarks follow the failure of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in talks earlier this month to persuade Iran to open up its nuclear activities to more scrutiny.
Tehran claims it is only pursuing nuclear power for civilian ends, but Western countries believe the Iranians are working on a covert weapons program. "We know from previous experience, not least from what happened in North Korea, that the international community can be caught out, assuming that things are more rosy than they are," Fox told the British lawmakers. "We should therefore be entirely clear. It is entirely possible that Iran may be on the 2012 end of that spectrum." The Conservative politician said that the West should act "in accordance with that warning."
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