Intelligence sources are concerned that Iran may try to intensify its efforts to develop a nuclear bomb as the world’s attention has focused on containing the deadly coronavirus, Israel Hayom reported on Thursday.

Unnamed security sources told the daily that the Islamic Republic is facing perhaps its biggest crisis since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Iran leads the Middle East by far in coronavirus infections, with some 48,000 officially confirmed cases and just over 3,000 dead.

However, the assumption is that the ayatollahs are hiding the real numbers, both from its own people and from the world. The true statistics may be four or even five times higher than what is reported, they said.

This may lead Tehran to try and bolster its image, both internally and externally, sources say. Going for the bomb may serve to at least partially distract its frustrated and frightened citizens from their leaders’ ineptitude in handling the health crisis.

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