President Barack Obama has admitted, in an NPR interview that has now been published in full, that the deal agreed upon with Iran would enable Iran to break out to a nuclear bomb in “almost zero” time, once 13 or 14 years had passed.
Obama told NPR's Steve Inskeep that it is indeed “a relevant fear” that “in year 13, 14, 15, [the Iranians] have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”
“Keep in mind, though, currently, the breakout times are only about two to three months by our intelligence estimates,” he noted. “So essentially, we're purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year ... that — that if they decided to break the deal, kick out all the inspectors, break the seals and go for a bomb, we'd have over a year to respond. And we have those assurances for at least well over a decade.
“And then in years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter, but at that point we have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves. We have much more insight into their capabilities. And the option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished.”
Obama said, however, that the enriched uranium that Iran possesses will not pose a danger, because it will be “set off to the side and diluted.” While Iran will be allowed to keep it inside its territory, he the President explained, it will be limited to 300 kilograms or below, and so “they're not going to have been able to hoard a bunch of uranium that somehow they then convert to weapons-grade uranium.”
In parts of the interview published earlier, Obama said:
"The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognising Israel, is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms," he said in a drive to sell the deal to a hostile Congress.
"And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment."