Israel has 200 nuclear weapons, according to the latest revelation hidden in a cache of Colin Powell’s leaked emails.
The former US secretary of state revealed the information in an email he sent to a colleague last year, which was obtained by the hacking group DCLeaks and published on LobeLog, a foreign policy blog.
Israel has a policy of nuclear ambiguity and has never talked about the type or size of its weapons, even if it has been an “open secret” that the US ally is well armed.
Some Israel watchers estimate the country has as many as 400 weapons but Mr Powell is one of the most authoritative sources to date.
He was writing to business partner and democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds regarding Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to US Congress, warning them against the nuclear deal with Iran which would limit Tehran’s nuclear ability in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions. The deal was nonetheless finalised last summer.
“Negotiators can’t get what he wants,” wrote Mr Powell in the email.
“Anyway, Iranians can’t use one [a nuclear weapon] if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As Akmdinijad (sic) [said], “What would we do with one, polish it?” I have spoken publicly about both nK and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about – regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?”
The US-Iran deal requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched Uranium, used to fuel bombs, by 98 per cent, as well as limit their enrichment capacity and research and development for the next decade and a half.
Yet Mr Powell publicly endorsed the agreement – he told NBC’s Meet the Press in September 2015 that it was a “pretty good deal” – but did not seem so keen in another email to Mr Leeds a few months later. He expressed doubt to Mr Leeds that Iran could test out a nuclear weapon “within a year”.
In the email, the retired statesman and general also acknowledged that sanctions would not be enough to halt Iran if it was really bent on developing nuclear weapons.
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SOURCE: Rachael Revesz