Iran is likely to obtain a nuclear weapon by 2014, making an Israeli or American strikeon the Islamic Republic more likely by then, the head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence agency said, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.
“The Iranians are determinedly going down a path to master all aspects of nuclear weapons; all the technologies they need,” John Sawers is quoted as saying.
“It’s equally clear that Israel and the United States would face huge dangers if Iran were to become a nuclear weapon state.”
Sawers made his views known at Civil Service Live, a meeting of senior civil servants, a week earlier, during which he credited covert MI6 operations for preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons earlier. Without intervention, Iran may have gone nuclear as early as 2008, he said.
The UK has worked to ensure international sanctions against the Islamic Republic were introduced and implemented, and ran operations to slow the nuclear program’s pace, according to the report.
“I take great pride in the fact that, in the last 10 years, over a number of jobs, I’ve been involved in an issue of global concern, and I feel that I as an individual [have made] an impact in the outcome of events,” he said.
The European Union banned Iranian oil imports as well as providing insurance for vessels carrying Iranian oil starting on July 1, and US sanctions have limited Iran’s major trading partners from buying its crude oil.
At least four scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program have been killed since 2010, most recently in January. Iran has blamed Israel, the UK and the United States for the deaths, and more recently lashed out against France and Germany as well.
Washington has denied any role in the killings, while Israel has declined to comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.