A report published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal has warned that Iran will be able to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel in the next two to four months. The assessment was made by former United Nations inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other nuclear experts.
The article quoted a report issued this week by the independent Institute for Science and International Security, which concluded that Iran can produce enough highly enriched uranium for at least one atomic bomb – about 25 kilograms – in two to four months at its Natanz facility. According to the report, 90-percent purity weapons-grade fuel could be produced by combining low-enriched and higher-enriched uranium and synchronizing the enrichment of the two grades, both of which Iran already has.
The assessment was based on information released by the IAEA, which said in August that Tehran has doubled its capacity to produce 20-percent enriched uranium in its underground facility near Qom.
In Israel, however, the news is not new, although timeline is a bit stepped up from that which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced at the United Nations podium in September.
Netanyahu – and other Israeli leaders -- warned the international community of this eventuality for years. In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly, in fact, Netanyahu finally decided to actually draw a diagram for members of the world body with a graphic of a bomb with a lit fuse ready to explode, to emphasize the point.
The Israeli prime minister stated bluntly that a strike on Iran's nuclear sites would have to be carried out well before the summer in order to stop Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon.
Intelligence sources in both Israel and the United States are certain that Iran's skyrocketing uranium enrichment activities have a military purpose, despite Tehran's claims that its nuclear development programs are aimed solely at peaceful domestic activities.