US officials say Iran has come very close to producing fissile material. However, they do not believe that he has mastered the technology of making a nuclear bomb.
A senior U.S. Defense Department official said Tuesday that Iran could produce the fissile material needed for a nuclear bomb in about 12 days, which is more than expected during the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Accordingly, the period is less than one year.
Colin Cahill, deputy secretary of defense policy, made the remarks during a House hearing after a Republican lawmaker questioned whether the Biden administration had approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is part of the Iran nuclear deal. Why did you try to restore the well-known name?
“Because Iran’s nuclear progress has been remarkable since we left the JCPOA. In 2018, when the previous administration withdrew itself from the JCPOA,” said Cahill, the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Defense. At that time it took Iran about 12 months to produce the fissile material needed to make a bomb. But now it will take about 12 days.”
“And that’s why I think there’s still time that we can resolve this issue diplomatically and put constraints on their (Iran’s) nuclear program. And that’s better than any other alternative,” Cahill added. But at the moment there is snow on the JCPOA.”
US officials have repeatedly tried to estimate how long it would take if Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb. They thought it could take weeks. But Cahill is the first to clearly mention the time it takes.
US officials believe Iran is moving closer to producing fissile material, but they do not believe it has mastered the technology to build a nuclear bomb.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal
It should be noted that the then US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. After which Tehran resumed work on its nuclear program.
The United States, the European Union and Israel fear that Iran may develop a nuclear bomb. However, Iran denies any such ambitions. The Biden administration has been trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal for the past two years.
Statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations agency that monitors nuclear activities, said on Tuesday that its inspectors found uranium particles at Iran’s Fardo nuclear plant enriched to 83.7 percent.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said discussions are underway to trace the source of the particles. According to the report, Iran’s uranium enrichment is 18 percent higher than the target set in the 2015 agreement. On the other hand, Iran says that this may have happened unintentionally during uranium enrichment.
Germany expressed concern
Any explanation from Iran, however, will not be enough to satisfy its regional rival, Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently re-assumed power in Israel, has already threatened military action against Tehran.
Meanwhile, the German Foreign Minister said on Tuesday that both his country and Israel are concerned about Iran’s allegations of 84% enriched uranium.
German Foreign Minister Annalina Bierbock said: “We are united in our concern over the recent news regarding Iran’s increase in nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment. “There is no acceptable civilian justification for such high levels of enrichment.”
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