Sir John Sawers, Britain spy chief: Iran only 2 years away from nuclear weapons -- report


WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Bob Kunst (R) protests against a nuclear Iran in front of the White House where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting on March 5, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama met with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss peace in the Middle East, and Israel's growing concerns with Iran producing nuclear weapons.


Mark Wilson

Britain's top spy chief Sir John Sawers has said Iran will probably be able to produce nuclear weapons within two years, The Daily Telegraph today reported

The news comes a day after the US hit Iran with fresh sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, which Western countries fear is being used to make a bomb, a charge Tehran denies.

Now the head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service after years of working on the Iranian nuclear issue from the diplomatic side, Sir John told a gathering of officials recently that the Islamic Republic is only “two years away” from becoming a “nuclear weapons state," said The Telegraph

More from GlobalPost: US slams Iran with fresh sanctions

The New York Times today called the revelation "an unusually public" admission from the country's senior intelligence. 

The comments add to growing fears that the decades-long dispute between Iran and the West will come to a head in the form of a military conflict, with the US and Iran recently beefing up their military presence in the Persian Gulf.

Britain's foreign intelligence agency MI6, lead by Sir John, is working to “delay that awful moment when the politicians may have to take a decision between accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or launching a military strike against Iran," the spy chief said, adding, “I think it will be very tough for any prime minister of Israel or president of the United States to accept a nuclear-armed Iran," reported The Telegraph

The Telegraph also said the remarks were Sir John's first public evaluation of Iran's nuclear ambitions since taking the helm at MI6 in 2009.