Iran’s Nuclear Clock Is Ticking Fast

Monday, October 6, is a date picked up this week by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's informed military and intelligence sources as a possible date for Tehran to spring a surprise nuclear test of some sort on the United States and Israel. That date would correspond to the 30th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War against Israel which the Arab and Muslim world has always maintained it won.

It so happens that this year, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) falls once again on October 6, as it did in 1973.

The United States and Israel would be taken by surprise because they are working on the assumption that Iran cannot go nuclear before late 2005.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s experts have consistently challenged that hypothesis. In October 2002, DNW No. 82 revealed that Iran already possessed a nuclear device built with the help of North Korean, Chinese and Pakistani scientists.

Our sources continue to maintain that the Iranian program is far more advanced than believed. So much so that some of DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s intelligence sources have heard that Iran and North Korea are contemplating simultaneous nuclear tests as early as the coming Monday. There’s no hard evidence of this happening but it is definitely under discussion.

The two might be thinking that a double test would head off American and Israeli reprisals.

The Israeli prime minister’s office and intelligence leaders sat up and took notice Monday, September 22, when they read an interview with Iran’s air force chief Reza Pardis in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al Hayat, in which he threatened Israel with powerful retribution if it dared attack an Iranian nuclear reactor or any of its nuclear facilities.

“Israel knows the Iranian air force has a plan of attack and therefore I believe that Israel will not dare to strike,” he said.

The strong wording of the threat to Israel is unusual and has not been heard from Tehran since Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. Our intelligence sources report that Sharon’s office alerted the White House to the Iranian air force commander’s remarks.

A still more ominous happening occurred Thursday, September 24 just before DEBKA-Net-Weekly went to press. At a closed meeting attended only by the top commanders of the Iranian armed forces and Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Muslims everywhere will soon wake up to a discovery.

“With God's help and great power, we will carry out our mission to defend the homeland and the entire Muslim world,” he said. “I repeat my promise that very soon your eyes and those of the world will be opened.”

The Farsi phrase: “Your eyes will be opened” – repeated twice – is generally interpreted in Tehran as meaning only one thing: an Iranian nuclear test is in the offing.

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