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According to Norman Roule, Tehran isn’t capable of completing a nuclear weapon and the risks of doing so are simply too great.

By Pesach Benson, United with Israel

According to an ex-Central Intelligence Agency chief interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle, Iran isn’t really interested in developing a nuclear bomb but merely wants to “test Western red lines.”

“The evidence suggests Iran will not rush to develop a nuclear weapon, but instead test Western red lines on what weapons-enabling activity it might undertake without consequence,” said Norman Roule, who worked for the CIA for 34 years and was a key architect of President Barack Obama’s controversial Iranian nuclear deal of 2015.

According to Roule, Tehran isn’t capable of completing a nuclear weapon and the risks of doing so are simply too great.

“Press reports speak of routine sabotage at Iran’s most sensitive nuclear sites and the assassination of key nuclear officials, although it is hard to imagine personnel or locations with better security in Iran.

“With this history in mind, is it reasonable to think that Iran’s leaders can believe that weaponisation — which involves many personnel and facilities — can be kept secret and protected?” he told the JC.

In other words, Iran’s nuclear program is too big to succeed, according to Roule.

But Dore Gold, who served as director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and authored the book, “The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West,” doesn’t believe Iran is bluffing at all.

“I have long believed that Iran is seeking regional hegemony, and its main instruments are the use of proxy militias such as Hezbollah and acquiring nuclear weapons,” Gold told the JC.

“I think that if Iran had the opportunity to take the next steps towards nuclearisation, it would do so. The prospect of retribution would be part of their considerations, but I don’t think it would deter them.”

However, Roule is not optimistic that American efforts for a new nuclear agreement with Iran will bear fruit. The Iranian government of President Ebrahim Raisi is far more hardline than the government of Hassan Rouhani which Obama dealt with.

According to Roule, Iran benefits from nuclear talks for the sake of engaging the West.

“Iran has no reason to end talks. Negotiations give it routine engagement with the major powers, something its political and economic status would normally not merit,” he said.

“The talks have normalised engagement with the Raisi administration and Iran has used talks to delay international action and to expand its nuclear programme far beyond levels that were considered red lines in 2014.”

The interview was published amid reports that Iran has begun enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges at the underground Fordo nuclear facility.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran’s breakout time — the time necessary to purify a sufficient amount of uranium for a nuclear bomb — is down to four weeks. Iran’s uranium stocks are at 60 percent purity — far higher than the 3.67% necessary for a civilian nuclear program. A nuclear weapon requires uranium enriched to 90% purity.