One of the world’s leading experts on nuclear weapons programs, American physicist David Albright, issued a report stating that Iran’s regime needs roughly a week to produce enough uranium for an atomic bomb.
In his January 8 report titled “How quickly could Iran make nuclear weapons today?” Albright argues that “Iran can quickly make enough weapon-grade uranium for many nuclear weapons, something it could not do in 2003. Today, it would need only about a week to produce enough for its first nuclear weapon. It could have enough weapon-grade uranium for six weapons in one month, and after five months of producing weapon-grade uranium, it could have enough for twelve.”
Albright, the founder and president of the prominent Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, noted that “Iran could also immediately start preparatory work on transforming the weapons-grade uranium into nuclear weapon components in anticipation of later receiving weapon-grade uranium.
“It accomplished a considerable amount of such work during the Amad Plan, and subsequently at civilian nuclear facilities at Esfahan during the last several years as part of Iran’s buildup of its nuclear program, including the production of a small amount of 20% enriched uranium metal, a material that can stand in for weapon-grade uranium.”
Iran’s current nuclear power
Albright, who was a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, wrote that “Iran’s growing nuclear weapons capability is often condemned, most recently in a December 28 joint statement by the United States and its close European allies. The occasion was the Iranian action to expand its output of 60% enriched uranium.
“This level of enrichment is a hair’s breadth from 90% enriched or weapons-grade uranium, the enrichment level most desired for making nuclear weapons. That is also the enrichment level used in Iran’s nuclear weapons designs, which it nearly perfected during its crash nuclear weapons program in the early 2000s, codenamed the Amad Plan. This program was shut down in 2003 and replaced with a smaller, more dispersed nuclear weapons effort, with the decision to make them postponed.”
Iran enriches uranium at a very high level
After Albright published his article, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the UAE-state-owned newspaper The National that “Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state which is enriching uranium at this very, very high level – very close to weapons grade.” He added, “I’m not saying they have a nuclear weapon, I’m saying this is sensitive. And when you’re doing that … you abide by the rules.”
Albright warned that “Western intelligence agencies may not detect the start of Iran’s nuclear weaponization effort. Given all the complexities and conflicts in the Middle East today, Western intelligence agencies, including Israel’s, are stretched to the limit. The beginning stages of a quiet, low-level effort to build nuclear weapons could slip through unobserved.”
The nuclear expert recommended that, “Given short warning times and few prospects of a nuclear deal, the United States and its allies have little choice other than focusing on a strategy to deter Iran from deciding to build nuclear weapons in the first place. Iran needs to be made fully aware via concrete demonstrations that building nuclear weapons will trigger quick, drastic actions by the international community, including military strikes.”
According to Albright, “US military cooperation with Israel aimed at destroying Iran’s nuclear capabilities should be bolstered, ensuring Israel can decisively strike Iran’s nuclear sites on short notice if there are signs that Iran is moving to build nuclear weapons, including the ability to deliver a second strike if Iran reconstitutes those activities.
“The priority should be assisting and building military capabilities with our allies and regional partners in the Middle East, with a US commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and deter Iran from retaliation.”
Source » jpost