Iran will not be able to build a nuclear bomb before 2015, according to Israel’s newly retired spy chief.
Its nuclear programme has been delayed by unspecified “measures” against it, ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan was reported as saying by Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.
Other Israeli media reported Dagan’s prediction, citing “closed conversations” he held before leaving his post.
As recently as 2009, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb by 2011.
But since then the projected deadline has been extended and Cabinet minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel “should not hurry to attack” Iran, according to Yediot Ahronot.
Israel officially supports the diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but has not ruled out a military strike.
Iran claims its nuclear programme is aimed at producing electricity.
Iran has blamed Israel for disruptions in its nuclear programme. In November, attackers on motorcycles used car magnet bombs against two Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran, killing one and wounding another. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years.
In addition, a computer worm known as Stuxnet is thought to have caused the Iranians serious technical problems.
The UN Security Council imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran after Tehran refused to halt its programme. The council’s five permanent members, with Germany, are set to hold a new round of talks with Iran in late January.