Iran could make bomb 'within 10 months'

2012-10-09 11:02
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions during his address to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. (File, AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions during his address to the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Washington - Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to make an atomic bomb within two to four months and then would need an additional eight to 10 months to build the device, experts said on Monday.

The authors of a new report on Iran's nuclear programme say Tehran has made progress in its uranium enrichment effort but that the United States and UN weapons inspectors would be able to detect any attempt at a "breakout" - at least for the moment.

The report, released by the Institute for Science and International Security, offers estimates on uranium stockpiles and enrichment rates based on figures from inspections of Iran's programme by the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

To amass the 25kg of highly-enriched uranium needed for one nuclear weapon, Iran "would require at least 2-4 months".

To reach that goal, Iran would have to draw on its uranium enriched to 3.5% as well as stocks of 20% enriched uranium, it said.

The report appears roughly in line with the US government's view that once Iran made a decision to make a bomb, Tehran could be months away from generating sufficient amounts of weapons-grade material and then additional months would be required to construct a device.

A year for US to take action


The findings confirm comments made to AFP last month by one of the authors, David Albright, a leading expert on Iran's nuclear project.

Once Iran had generated enough highly-enriched uranium, it could take about eight to 10 months to construct a nuclear weapon, Albright said on Monday.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on 11 September that the United States would have about a year to take action if Iran decided to build a nuclear weapon.

The time needed for Iran to quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and "dash" or "break out" to make the bomb would give the United States and its allies time to react if necessary, the report said.

"Although Iran's breakout times are shortening, an Iranian breakout in the next year could not escape detection by the IAEA or the United States.

"Furthermore, the United States and its allies maintain the ability to respond forcefully to any Iranian decision to break out. During the next year or so, breakout times at Natanz and Fordow [facilities] appear long enough to make an Iranian decision to break out risky," it said.

Under pressure


But as Iran's supply of 20% enriched uranium increases, the time needed to produce enough material for a bomb or bombs will decrease, it said.

Iran's expanding network of centrifuges could make it increasingly difficult for inspectors to spot Tehran's progress, it said.

"Iran may be seeking the ability to produce sufficient WGU [weapons grade uranium] faster than the IAEA inspectors could detect it," the authors wrote.

Despite repeated accusations from Western countries and critical findings from UN inspectors, Iran insists its nuclear programme is designed purely for peaceful purposes.

The United States is under pressure from Israel to set a precise deadline for military action but prefers for now to pursue a course of ever tighter sanctions to try to force Tehran to the negotiating table.

Iran denies it is seeking atomic weapons, maintaining that its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes.

Process might be undetectable

Once Iran possesses enough weapons-grade material for a bomb, it would be extremely difficult for UN monitors or outside countries to determine if Tehran had built a nuclear device, the report said.

"If Iran successfully produced enough WGU for a nuclear weapon, the ensuing weaponisation process might not be detectable until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons," it said.

"Therefore, the most practical strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is to prevent it from accumulating sufficient nuclear explosive material."

Read more on:    iran  |  iran nuclear programme  |  nuclear
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
52 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 10:52 AM
    Road name: Montague Drive Southbound
    DELAYS towards Bosmansdam Road due to roadworks
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 10:21 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R99.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The ingredients for today are communicating your original ideas in a creative and unique way that can make the right people look...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.