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'The Iranian Nuclear Program: Timelines, Data, and Estimates'

8:08 AM, Oct 31, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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An important report from the American Enterprise Institute's Maseh Zarif on Iran:

IRAN’S ENRICHMENT CAPABILITIES ARE NO LONGER THE PRIMARY BOTTLENECK IN A NUCLEAR BREAKOUT SCENARIO.

  • Iran can produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material faster than it likely can deploy a functioning nuclear device. Tracking Iran’s uranium enrichment activities now addresses only Iran’s intentions and the size of its projected arsenal.

  • Obtaining fissile material in the form of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium is the most technically demanding step in acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Designing an explosive device (which consists of non-nuclear components) and a delivery system for the device are comparatively less technically challenging. Those efforts can also proceed parallel to enrichment.

  • Iran has the infrastructure and material to produce weapons-grade uranium. It has enough enriched uranium to produce fuel for five nuclear weapons after conversion to weapons-grade. Its expanding enrichment activities have significantly reduced the time required for it to produce weapons-grade uranium. The key accelerants for this shrinking timeline have been its growing stockpiles of low- and medium-enriched uranium, which is 90% of the way to weapons-grade, and an increasing number of centrifuges enriching.

Whole thing here.

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