- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
The clock is ticking, according to the former U.N. ambassador:
Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia’s help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant’s core.
At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.
"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.
"So if Israel is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days."
Before you start stocking up on canned goods, it’s worth noting that according to Bolton, right now is always the best time to attack Iran. In July 2009, he said that Israel would likely attack by the end of last year. In June 2008, he said it would have be before the end of the Bush administration. Way back in 2007, he was saying that "time is limited."
Bolton doesn’t actually think that Israel will attack Iran this week, and believes that they have "lost this opportunity," but something tells me this isn’t the last time that Bolton will give the Israelis an extension on their deadline.
Update: Just a few hours after the Fox interview, Bolton told Israeli Radio that Israel only has three days left to attack Iran. That was a fast five days!