Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear bomb within two to four months but would still face serious “engineering challenges” – and much longer delays – before it succeeds in making the other components needed for a functioning warhead, a respected U.S. think tank said Monday.
While Iran denies any interest in possessing nuclear arms, the international community fears it may turn its peaceful uranium enrichment program toward weapons making – a concern that is growing as Tehran expands the number of machines it uses to enrich its stockpile of enriched uranium. As those fears grow, so does concern that Israel could carry out its threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before that nation reaches the bomb-making threshold.
In a strident call for an internationally drawn “red line” on what he said is Iran’s move toward nuclear arms, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sept. 28 that the world has until next summer at the latest to stop Tehran before it can build an atomic bomb. Flashing a diagram of a cartoon-like bomb before the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu said Iran is ready to move to the “final stage” of making such a weapon by then.
For now, U.S. military and intelligence officials say they don’t believe Iran’s leadership has made the decision to build a bomb, while also warning that the country is moving closer to the ability to do so.
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