Colin Powell has said that Israel has over 200 nuclear weapons pointed directly at Iran, according to hacked emails released on Tuesday.
The former U.S. Secretary of State revealed in an email to Democratic party donor Jeffrey Leeds that Iran was fully aware of the extent of Israel’s nuclear capabilities.
Despite the fact that Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has therefore never revealed whether it has possession of nuclear weapons – Colin Powell’s admission may have just given away the size of Israel’s entire nuclear arsenal.
Speaking to Democratic party donor Jeffrey Leeds about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress focusing on the Iranian nuclear deal, he wrote that Iran would never use a nuclear weapon if it was able to develop one. He then stated that Israel has hundreds of nukes and Washington thousands, suggesting that such firepower would deter any Iranian action.
“Negotiators can’t get what he (Netanyahu) wants. Anyway, Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands,” he allegedly wrote.
“As Akmdinijad (sic) [said]: ‘What would we do with one? Polish it?’ I have spoken publicly about both NK (North Korea) and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?” he said, referring to the former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Hacker group DCLeaks, which has reported links to Russian intelligence, released a slew of emails from Powell Wednesday, which were subsequently reviewed by U.S. foreign policy blog LobeLog. Powell’s aides have confirmed the veracity of the leaked emails. The four-star U.S. general went on to publicly support the Iranian nuclear deal, saying that “it’s a pretty good deal.”
Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal, believing that it could accelerate the country’s path towards developing a nuclear weapon through the releasing of millions of dollars in funds previously held back by an international sanctions regime placed on Tehran’s economy. Iran’s conservative leadership regularly threatens Israel with destruction.
The nuclear deal, signed between Iran and world powers, traded a pulling back of Iran’s nuclear program for a lifting of the sanctions on its economy. Some in the Israeli elite believe that the money that Iran will receive through the lifting of sanctions will be circulated to finance its proxy groups that are at conflict with Israel, such as Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.