Israel has '8 days' to hit Iran nuclear site: Bolton
Tue Aug 17, 8:44 am ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) –
Israel has "eight days" to launch a military strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former envoy to the UN has said. US
At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for
to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians. Israel
"Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they're in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it," Bolton told Fox Business Network.
is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days." Israel
Absent an Israeli strike, Bolton said, "
Iran will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor."
But when asked whether he expected
Israel to actually launch strikes against Iran within the next eight days, Bolton was skeptical.
"I don't think so, I'm afraid that they've lost this opportunity," he said.
The controversial former envoy to the United Nations criticized
's role in the development of the plant, saying "the Russians are, as they often do, playing both sides against the middle." Russia
"The idea of being able to stick a thumb in
America's eye always figures prominently in ," he added. Moscow
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that "these threats of attacks had become repetitive and lost their meaning."
"According to international law, installations which have real fuel cannot be attacked because of the humanitarian consequences," he told reporters at a news conference in
Iranian officials say
has stepped up defensive measures at the Bushehr plant to protect it from any attacks. Iran
The UN Security Council hit
Tehran with a fourth set of sanctions on June 9 over its nuclear programme, and the United States and European Union followed up with tougher punitive measures targeting 's banking and energy sectors. Iran
The Bushehr project was first launched by the late shah in the 1970s using contractors from German firm Siemens. But it was shelved when he was deposed in the 1979 Islamic revolution.
It was revived after the death of revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, as
's new supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his first president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, backed the project. Iran
Iran won the support of which agreed to finish building the plant and fuel it. Russia