News24

Iran could make bomb 'within 10 months'

2012-10-09 11:02

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."

Comments
  • vandeventer.sarel - 2012-10-09 11:27

    Skiet hulle voor hulle begin skiet

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-10-09 12:03

      Watch the skies I'm-a-Jihad...

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-10-09 11:30

    Several countries made Nuclear bombs over 50 years ago, so to get angry at Iran is a little stupid. More War propaganda, the cabal is trying desperately to start a war but countries like Russia and China are not biting, we're all sick of their useless wars now.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-09 11:40

      These people would rather watch the world burn than let the dollar fail.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:28

      You sound like the appeasers prior to WW2. Dangerous. More dangerous than war itself because it leads to the very war you don't want. It's important to understand what is actually going on. The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. It's days are numbered, and it knows this. That is why it is trying to make a dash at creating nuclear weapons.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:30

      The Russian and Chinese regimes are autocratic and neo-Communist. Russia and China have the worst human rights records of any country on Earth, by far. They are only now starting to emerge from their very dark pasts. Incredible that you hold them as your lodestars. More testimony to your almost total misunderstanding of what is actually going on.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-09 16:21

      You know Fred I can't prove you wrong on many of those points! You are right. But you are mistaken in thinking Iran, China and Russia are alone. You are mistaken in thinking Iran poses any military threat to the rest of the world. You are mistaken when you call it the "freer world". Because the freer world is about as free as Iran China and Russia, you just don't know it yet. You are wrong about it funding the jihadist movements. Al Qaeda is an enemy of Iran. Look it up. Your blind faith in the West leads to all sorts of trouble. Yes Fred I have a very clear understanding of whats going on! I have a clear understanding of how oppressive the Iranian government is.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-09 16:26

      Fred you think you know about Iranian history? Then I'm sure you'll know what the West did to Iran in the 1950's? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d'%C3%A9tat "The man for whom history is bunk is almost invariably as obtuse to the future as he is blind to the past." Do you think the CIA currently has different motives than they did back then? Don't be so naive.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 18:42

      The freer world is not "about as free as Iran, Russia and China". Tom, you really should inform yourself more. You have no idea what you're talking about. In your ignorance you're supporting brutal autocracy and oppression. It appears to you that I have blind faith in the West because you hold a deep-seated prejudice against it that distorts your perspective and view of the world.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-09 19:15

      Just because I don't wan't it bombed does not mean I support it.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 19:19

      What would you do to ensure that the oppressive, illegitimate Iranian regime does not have nuclear weapons?

      imtiyaza - 2012-10-16 22:33

      Dear Fred. Seeing that you are leading the war chorus I am sure that you will be the brave hero that you pretend to be by leading the first infantry assault onto the beaches and border posts of Iran. Btw, I hope you manage to convince Anthony to join you. C'mon show us your much vaunted bravery.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-09 11:31

    Better take preventative action and bomb Iran right now already.

  • alex.nkosi.39 - 2012-10-09 11:35

    What a hypocrite imperialists! United states must,itself,start demolishing its nuclear,biological and mass destruction weopons. In everywhere in the world there are wars created by united states of america. We hope that china will lead this world militarily,economically and technologically.

      bheki.moyo.39 - 2012-10-09 11:46

      And what is the world going to gain from that? China is not talking too much because they don't have adequate resources. China needs Africa and the Middle east for its survival so don't praise her for nothing. On top of that china and Russia don't trust one another if you don't know. Russia won't allow china to dominate the middle east that is one thing you have to know.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:32

      Again, Alex. there's no "we", only you. Notwithstanding what your Ego says, you only have authority to speak for yourself, no-one else. Regarding your "imperialist" paradigm, it is old, stale and faulty. It will lead you to the very reality you don't want: into the hands of autocratic regimes with the worst human rights records on Earth.

  • tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-10-09 11:36

    Half wit neo con war mongers are the scum of this earth. I'm surprised at how much support news24 users give them. Thought sa was better than that.

  • bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-10-09 11:36

    My question will always be who suppose to have these weapon and why, who is not suppose to have and why?

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-10-09 12:35

      Unstable countries that threatens every 2nd country should not have the bomb.

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-09 13:39

      @Deon - and, would you presume to call the US or the UK or Israel stable??? You're dreaming! They are the aggressors for the most part and that makes them highly volatile and unstable. They are the ones who should have their nukes, drones and other military hardware confiscated and told to pay attention to the needs of their masses...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:33

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. It's days are numbered, and it knows this. That is why it is trying to make nuclear weapons.

      yaseen.moosa.3 - 2012-10-09 15:37

      Deon, lets look at the facts -the only country to have used nuclear weapons is the United States so what gives them the right to say Iran cannot have these weapons.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:48

      That's simple, immature thinking, Yassen. It's also prejudiced. Basically you're blinding yourself to truer reality.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-09 11:37

    If they wanted to make weapons of mas destruction the US would have been leveled long ago.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-09 11:39

    Dis onosel wat het jy 'n klip vr breins

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-09 11:42

    Doen bietjie meer huiswerk voor jy guns blazing in hardloop, die vsa wil net oorlog begin om control oor iran se olie te he nie omrede hul met nuclear projekte besig is nie.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-09 11:47

    Guys gals and retards listen up: the US is using WMDs for an excuse to start a full scale war in Iran to gain control of Iranian assets like their precious oil. In the US petrol is cheaper why cause they gained control of Saudi Arabia's oil fields when they visiouscly took out their leader because of aleged WMD which were never found.

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-09 12:37

      I'm sure you not a special person and actually mean't Iraq , right?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:35

      Clearly, you have no idea how much petrol costs in the US. You also have no idea how international oil markets work. Basically you have no idea.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-10-09 11:51

    The red line is where the Mossad takes out Iran's remaining nuclear physicists...

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 12:00

      Looks like in a case which suits your personal points of view you are completely on a side of terrorism.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-10-09 12:54

      The Ukraine is a 3rd world country sadly lacking in modern conveniences like clean drinking water etc. But they think they are technologically far superior to the US with their supposedly outdated weaponry. LOL!

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 18:16

      Gerhard happy landing on your head after falling from a tree. What Ukraine has to do with a story? P.S. Upgrade your info on a shortage of drinking water, surely you're talking about Uganda.

  • miquette.caalsen - 2012-10-09 11:54

    Here's my question on all this: WHY is Iran working towards a position from where they can create nuclear weapons? Why now? Where the rest of the world has figured out what a really bad idea nuclear weapons are and that, technically, once you have them you are stuck with them - why would Iran NOW act in a provocative manner? Drone tests into Israel, the ongoing cat and mouse with their nuclear programme ... the question almost becomes: Where's the money? And right now, let's be logical: the world runs on oil. Who controls the oil? Who has the most to gain by creating tension in the Middle East? Because the more tension, the higher the oil price ... so who is gaining here?

      LanfearM - 2012-10-09 12:11

      OPEC of course. The organisation that includes all the oil producing countries in the world, and f*ck around with the oil price and production as it pleases them, knowing full well the world is dependent on them. Massive corporations and conglomerates run the world, not politicians, political parties or governments.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 11:54

    So what? The Iranians have been accused of developing a weapon of mass destruction for so long and so many times that it feels just fair enough to answer those accusations... After all if Israel and the US are calling upon everyone to relinquish their nuclear arsenals they should take the lead and start with themselves.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:37

      Um, the entire world has been reducing it's nuclear weapons for twenty years now. Diana, you post so much misinformation on this website. You really should inform yourself more, and beforehand.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 11:58

    Anyway it was funny to watch how mr. Big Ben Netanyahu was playing a nuclear physicist and made a mockery of himself to thousands of spectators around the world.

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-09 12:40

      Almost as bad as dinnerjacket talking about his sky daddy and the "maghdi" rubbish to the UN.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:39

      He made a mockery of himself to you. You don't speak for anyone else, Diana, notwithstanding what your Ego tells you. The same Ego tells you that you know so much. Yet your posts have very low awareness and accuracy.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 18:21

      Something else to add. Big Ben should have drawn a red cross right in the middle of his forehead to mark a target for a runaway bullet.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 18:24

      @richard excuse me what is the connection between Zuma and the "maghdi"?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 19:26

      Consistent with your low level of awareness and base motivations, Diana, you're calling for the killing of a fellow human being.

  • mario.dippenaar - 2012-10-09 12:15

    I am Aladden sure they have nukes

  • andre.krige - 2012-10-09 12:49

    What a joke . How can people believe this propaganda bull$hit . Wasent this the same story for Iraq 10 years ago , which so conveniently co incided with 911. wake up and don't believe everything shoved down your throat from the media .

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-09 13:36

      They've been spouting this same drivel for over 30 years! My whole take on it is that it is pure hypocrisy for the US & Israel to deny Iran's right to build a weapon if they wanted to, which they profess not to. Just more warmongering by the bullies that do it best... I'm hoping China pulls the plug on the amount of money the US gets to spend on weapons...

      dane.herbst.5 - 2012-10-09 13:51

      hallelujah, at least some one is awake here

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:42

      Everyone knows Saddam Hussein had WMD's. He used them against Iraqi Kurds, killing and maiming tens of thousands just because they wanted to vote. He also used them against Iran in his war against that country in which 1,000,000 Iranians died. The number of unidentified bodies found in unmarked graves from Saddam's tenure is estimated at 500,000 by the Iraqi government.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 15:43

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity at large.

  • shane.loxton - 2012-10-09 18:58

    Isael shoot themselves in the foot--- Iran Diverts Much of its Uranium for Peaceful Medical Research, Israeli Intel Says Both Israeli intelligence and the latest IAEA report say Iran is using its 20 percent enriched uranium for medical isotopesIran has diverted much of its enriched uranium to peaceful scientific research and medical isotopes, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report and intelligence obtained by Israeli sources. The report, as well as Israeli intelligence, states that Iran on several recent occasions has used the 20 percent enriched uranium – the highest it has and the portion of the program which most riled hawks in the West – to manufacture fuel rods for research for possible cancer treatment. This use is exactly the use that Iran has stated its 20 percent enriched uranium is for, as opposed to what war-mongers in Israel and the United States claimed it was for, a creeping nuclear weapons program. Senior Israeli defense officials told Haaretz that “Iran has moved the wall back by eight months at least,” because uranium allocated to this research is very difficult to revert back for any sort of weaponization. Senior Israeli officials are now in the process of hyping this aspect of the IAEA’s findings, even though the latest report is from back in August.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-10-09 19:28

      More delusion and ignorance Shane. The IAEA, the same agency that tried to dissuade the US from invading Iraq, said just two weeks ago there are clear indications the Iranian regime intends making nuclear weapons.

  • joseph.motloung.3 - 2012-10-15 15:45

    It is totally ridiculous the propaganda waged against the Islamic Republic. The have been reports since the early days of the Bush administration that Iran will have a nuclear bomb in a matter of months. All of those rumors have been disputed time and time again by the objective facts over and over again. Again I say if Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb then who can blame them when they are surrounded by US military basses and the un-civilized Zionists keep threatening Iran. How is it that the countries that have the worst human rights records,eg Zionists and USA, are allowed to freely posses nuclear weapons but Iran is not. America never misses an opportunity to invade other countries while the Nazi Zionists were sanction by the international community for using white phosphorus in their massacre in Gaza. By the way its illegal to use such weapons.

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