Yesterday the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence (MI) Directorate published its annual assessment on the regional threats the country faces.    

  • According to MI, Iran now has 1,300kg of uranium enriched to 4 per cent and 17kg enriched to 20 per cent. In order to manufacture one bomb, Iran will need 40kg of uranium enriched at 90 per cent. To reach this level of enrichment would take Iran about four months.
  • However, a nuclear bomb would still require the construction of a warhead and a missile delivery system. The IDF assesses that it would take Iran at least 21 months to complete this process once a political decision was made. So far, MI believes that such a decision has not been made.
  •  They assess that the targeted killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was a significant setback due to his vast knowledge and experience of the Iranian nuclear programme.
  •  Head of MI Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman said: “Iran is at an all-time low following the past years, and not just because of the pandemic, but it has not abandoned its nuclear programme or its aspirations to advance it. At the current state, Iran sees the nuclear deal as its only way out of the crisis and is working to at least return to an agreement similar to the one signed in 2015.”
  • In parallel to their nuclear programme, Iran has continued to strengthen its presence in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
  • Iran continues to provide high-quality weapons to Syria, particularly “kits” for turning inaccurate rockets into precision guided missiles (see this BICOM briefing for more information). The IDF has continued to target these shipments in Syria.  
  • There remains concern that Hezbollah is still looking to initiate a “limited offensive” against Israel in response to the killing of one of their operatives in Syria last summer
  • On the Palestinian front, the IDF believes Hamas in Gaza is focused on governance issues and describes the situation on the border as “stable but very fragile”.  However, Hamas continues to build military strength and increases its supply of weapons ahead of a future conflict with Israel. 
  • The MI assessment also describes the poor economic situation across the region, particularly in hostile countries of Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
  • The report highlights the importance of the Abraham Accords, presenting Israel with new strategic allies in the region.
  • The IDF also notes how Turkey’s aggressive tone has softened in recent months, but it is too early to say whether the country will change its behaviour in the region.