In the March 2015 missives — which reveal information the Jewish state has long sought to keep under wraps — Powell wrote to Democratic Party donor Jeffrey Leeds about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress, in which he warned against the planned Iran nuke deal.
Leeds said Netanyahu “said all the right things about the president and all the things he has done to help Israel. But basically [he] said this deal sucks, and the implication is that you have to be an idiot not to see it,” according to foreign policy website LobeLog, which cited emails leaked this week by DCLeaks.
Powell, 79, responded that given Israel’s imposing arsenal, it would be very unlikely that Iran’s mullahs would decide to build a nuke.
‘Iranians can’t use one [a nuclear weapon] if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands.’
– Colin Powell
“Negotiators can’t get what he wants. Anyway, Iranians can’t use one [a nuclear weapon] if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands,” Powell wrote, LobeLog reported.
“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 former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Powell later expressed support for the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, acknowledging Iran’s right to enrich uranium for nuclear power.
The deal requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent for 15 years and redesign a reactor so it can’t produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
“Can’t get enough sanctions to break them. Lots of bs around about their progress. Bibi likes to say ‘a year away,’ as do our intel guys. … (It) ain’t that easy to do,” he wrote, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.
Israel, which is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity and has long remained mum about the size — and even the existence — of its nuclear weapons program.
According to a 2014 report by the Federation of American Scientists, Israel is believed to possess between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons — though the report’s authors estimated the number was closer to 80, the Times of Israel reported.
As a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell’s figure of 200 warheads would appear to be more authoritative than the approximations by “news media reports, think tanks, authors and analysts” cited in the FAS report, the Israeli news site reported.
Leaked emails also shed light on how the retired four-star US Army general insulted Donald Trump as “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah,” as well as calling Hillary Clinton a “greedy, not transformational” politician.
DCLeaks has ties to a Russian military intelligence hacker group dubbed Fancy Bear, the Washington Post reported.