Head of CENTCOM Warns Iran ‘Very Close’ to Nuclear Bomb

iran push back
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Iran is very close to a nuclear weapon, but the U.S. has options to stop them if diplomacy fails.

General Kenneth McKenzie told TIME magazine in comments published Wednesday that the Iranians are “very close this time” to a nuclear weapon.

“Our president said they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon,” McKenzie said. “The diplomats are in the lead on this, but Central Command always has a variety of plans that we could execute, if directed.”

“I think they like the idea of being able to break out,” he said.

This was the first time a U.S. official has clearly implicated that a military intervention was on the cards.

According to the Times of Israel, both the US and Israel believe Iran could build a nuclear bomb within a matter of weeks to months, with the uranium enrichment levels it has reached.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tehran has increased its stockpiles of enriched uranium as many as six times in excess of the limit laid down in the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would be far more aggressive in its approach to Tehran moving forward.

“The mistake we made after the first nuclear deal in 2015 will not repeat itself,” Bennett said at the Reichmann University conference in an implicit critique of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. “With all the noise beforehand, from the moment the deal was signed, it affected us like a sleeping pill. Israel simply fell asleep on duty. We occupied ourselves with other things.”

“We will learn from this mistake,” he promised. “We will maintain our freedom of action.”

“Even if there is a return to an agreement, Israel is of course not a party to it, and is not bound by it,” Bennett declared.

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