Former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin said Tuesday that Iran had enough material to develop "four or five" nuclear bombs, adding that it was imperative for Israel to maintain good relations with members of the international community capable of dealing with that threat.
"Once Iran decides finally to move forward in developing a nuclear weapon, a whole new range of opportunities will open up for a fight which the international community will fight," Yadlin said in an address at the Institute for National Security Studies, where he is beginning a term as director.
"Israel is not alone in the game," Yadlin said. "When the Iranians publicly reveal that they are pushing toward a nuclear weapon, Israel will no longer be the central player in the game."
"This situation requires us to maintain good channels of dialogue and understanding with those who have better operational abilities than us," Yadlin added.
The former MI chief said there was a good chance that sources within Western intelligence bodies would know in advance should the Iranian spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, order the country to advance toward a nuclear weapon.
A general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Yadollah Javani, over the weekend threatened retaliation against Israel if any of its nuclear or security sites are attacked.
"If Israeli missiles hit one of our nuclear facilities or other vital centers, then they should know that any part of Israeli territory would be target of our missiles, including their nuclear sites," told ISNA news agency."They [Israel] know that we have the capability to do so."
Javani, the former head of the military's political department, was referring to mounting speculation that Israel would strike Iran's nuclear facilities after the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had tested designs used to make nuclear warheads.
Iranian political and military officials have warned Israel that it would face retaliation from Shahab-3 missiles that can reach any part of Israel.
Iranian volunteers affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards have held several gatherings in recent days and vowed a harsh reply to any military attacks on nuclear sites.