LONDON – Iran is locked in a confrontation with the United States and other powers over its nuclear programme, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West suspects aims to develop a nuclear bomb.
A statement issued by an influential think-tank, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), on Thursday revealed that despite the Stuxnet computer virus, which had probably slowed the progress, Iran will be able to make a nuclear weapon within a period of 1-2 years.
However, charges that Iran had carried out banned chemical or biological weapons activities "cannot be determined from the available public information and may have been exaggerated," the IISS said in a 128-page report on "Iran's nuclear, chemical and biological capabilities."
Western and other intelligence agencies have also been involved in a worldwide campaign to slow nuclear smuggling and make it harder for Tehran to obtain vital equipment. Some previous estimates over the last decade had suggested Iran could have a bomb by as soon as late last year.