Iran a month away from a nuke?

posted at 10:41 am on October 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

So says a report from the Institute for Science and International Security, anyway.  USA Today notes that the White House still says that Iran is more than a year away from having the capability to build a functioning nuclear warhead, but if the report is true, it may explain why Saudi Arabia and Israel are publicly rebuking the White House:

Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in as little as a month, according to a new estimate by one of the USA’s top nuclear experts.

The new assessment comes as the White House invited Senate staffers to a briefing on negotiations with Iran as it is trying to persuade Congress not to go ahead with a bill to stiffen sanctions against Iran.

“Shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiation with Iran,” stated the report by the Institute for Science and International Security. “An essential finding is that they are currently too short and shortening further.”

David Albright, president of the institute and a former inspector for the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency, said the estimate means that Iran would have to eliminate more than half of its 19,000 centrifuges to extend the time it would take to build a bomb to six months.

This could explain a few things, especially the Iranian outreach to the US.  The Iranians may be so close to  a nuclear weapon that negotiations now can’t stop the inevitable “breakout,” which means their bargaining power over sanctions will improve dramatically.  They want the bomb in order to make the US pull back in the region — at least as a first stage — and remove the threat of American force.  If they’re this close, why not start to sweeten the air just a bit, and try one last time to separate the US from Iran’s enemies in Saudi Arabia?

That’s what Sen. Mark Kirk concludes from the new data:

Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican whose Senate Banking Committee is considering legislation to tighten Iran sanctions, said the report shows that Iran is expanding its nuclear capabilities under the cover of negotiations.

“The Senate should move forward immediately with a new round of sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring an undetectable breakout capability,” he said.

But this may also be why Obama is making his diplomatic pitch now, too. If the Iranians are really on an irrevocable arc to nuclear-weapons capability, then it may make sense to try to reach an accommodation with Tehran over their newfound status.  That’s what Iran wants, undoubtedly — to be the region’s fourth nuclear power (Israel, Pakistan, India are the others) and provide another pole for a nuclear Muslim axis that will force the West to retreat.  Obama even argued during his 2007-8 campaign that the US lived with a nuclearized Soviet Union through the doctrine of mutually-assured destruction, and scoffed at the threat from “tiny” Iran (78 million people).

That assumes, though, that the Iranian mullahcracy will be rational actors. They’re not irrational, but their aims are non-rational — they want to re-establish a theocratic Caliphate with Tehran as its capital.  That means they’re not going to be terribly concerned about proliferating nuclear weapons to their terrorist proxy networks, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, to use against infidels and Sunni “apostates” such as Saudi Arabia.

Small wonder the Saudis have become disenchanted with the US and are looking for better partners for security.  They can’t afford to shrug at a nuclear fait accompli, and neither can Israel … or the West, either.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

We should acted decades ago. They WILL use it and the first massive EMP will kill our country forever.

HomeoftheBrave on October 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

What do we have to fear from a little nation on the other side of the Earth, so sayeth Jumpin’ Joe Biden.

Thanks for getting this ball rolling way back in 1979, Carter, no really thank you.

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Obama doesn’t have the stomach to do what it would take to disarm Iran. His only goal is to buy time until his term is up, then it’s “someone else’s problem.”

But it’s not. As you say above Ed, Iran wouldn’t think twice about “accidentally” getting nukes into the hands of the irrational.

Meric1837 on October 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Who is Obama going to blame this on?
A) Republicans
B) Tea Party
C) Bush
D) All of the above

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that Iran’s first bomb (if they ever get one) will probably be something like Fat Man, both in size and yield. This is not to downplay the Iranian threat, but to show we can still act aggressively to stop their nuclear capabilities even after they get their first device.

NotCoach on October 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Israel… you’re on the clock.

mankai on October 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Color me extremely skeptical on this. We’ve been hearing “Iran is X months/years away” for over a decade.

The gripping hand here is that we are never going to negotiate Iran away from a nuke. They simply will not accept a world in which Pakistan, israel, Indian, the US, the UK, France and Russia have nukes and they don’t. I’ve long thought our approach should be to delay their program as much as possible (keeping in mind that it’s too spread out to stop completely short of invasion) and also let them know that we WILL know if they give a nuke to a terrorist and we WILL respond. That’s not an ideal solution, obviously, but it may be the least worst option.

Hal_10000 on October 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

I guessed they were quite close when they started offering to “negotiate.”

Donnyvee on October 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Explains a whole bunch of recent developments, don’t it? I expect they are in the process of making more than one, and I doubt they will test it. No reason to let the Great Stan know they actually have one right? Hopefully Israel will do something soon, or either them or the US is going to have a Nuke popped on us soon.

I blame the left and their political machine. The CIA and their stupid report doomed any action Bush could have taken to at least try and slow down Iran’s Nuke operation.

Johnnyreb on October 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

No worries! King Barack uses SMART DIPLOMACY!

GarandFan on October 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Obama’s foreign policy legacy is going to be as glorious as his health care legacy.

thuja on October 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Obama so diminishes the presidency. He should be focused on events like this one, which challenges world peace and safety, but instead he sells insurance policies. He is a small man.

This video makes the point very well.

MTF on October 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Thanks for getting this ball rolling way back in 1979, Carter, no really thank you.

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

those dem presidents and their middle east policies. and its not as if it is hindsight. outside of a small handful of people no one thought pushing shah to let the ayatollah return to iran was a good idea.

chasdal on October 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

No worries! King Barack uses SMART DIPLOMACY!

GarandFan on October 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Also in his quiver are: SMART ECONOMIC POLICIES AND SMART WEB SITE DESIGN.

I feel so much better knowing that the SMART Power!!!!1111!!!!elebinty people are in charge.

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Obama so diminishes the presidency. He should be focused on events like this one,

dude, there’s an NFL team that calls itself the “redskins”, yeah, for real. and you think 0bama should ignore that over some enriched uranium??

chasdal on October 25, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Here’s to hoping we have some nuke inventory that needs to be replenished.

Bmore on October 25, 2013 at 10:57 AM

The feckless won: LA LA LA LA LA LA….can’t hear you…LA LA LA LA LALA Someone bring my golf cart around.

rottenrobbie on October 25, 2013 at 11:02 AM

This video makes the point very well.

MTF on October 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

Reagan: “We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”

Barrack “ShamWow” Obama: “If you call in the next 30 minutes you can get free rubbers at no extra charge!”

NotCoach on October 25, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Now we know why Obama wants a 6 week ObamaCare delay.

Squirrels await.

faraway on October 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM

also let them know that we WILL know if they give a nuke to a terrorist and we WILL respond. That’s not an ideal solution, obviously, but it may be the least worst option.

Hal_10000 on October 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

You mean draw a red line? Really? And if that group is say Hezbollah and they wipe Israel off the earth, is retaliation after the fact sufficient?

KW64 on October 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Nuke First,..talk later:

GOP mega donor Sheldon Adelson says nuke Iran before negotiations

The biggest donor to the US Republican Party, Sheldon Adelson says America should begin negotiations with Iran only after nuking it.

Adelson made the comments at Yeshiva University in New York, criticizing Washington’s recent diplomatic outreach to Tehran. The gambling mogul donated nearly a hundred million dollars to Republicans last year. He’s seen as an influential figure in devising US policies in favor of Israel. The 80-year-old is also a powerful figure inside Israel. He owns a Tel Aviv newspaper that frequently magnifies warnings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel.

Added: 21 hours ago
===================

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8b7_1382635649

canopfor on October 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Small wonder the Saudis have become disenchanted with the US and are looking for better partners for security. They can’t afford to shrug at a nuclear fait accompli, and neither can Israel … or the West, either.

Yep. I wondered why the news of the Saudi panic was hitting the wires all of a sudden.

The question is whether Obama will actually try to do anything or whether he will just cower and do nothing and let the Saudis slip into the Chinese or Russian sphere of influence. I know which one I’ll bet on.

Doomberg on October 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

I would be surprised if in fact they haven’t had a bomb 2 or 3 years ago. Public recognition of nuclear weapons capability typically lags by several years.

MJBrutus on October 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Who cares???…all the Iranians have to do is sit back and watch us destroy ourselves…they must be laughing their collective asses off watching us…

PatriotRider on October 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Wow, who could have seen this coming? We better send NASA to smooth things over.

John Deaux on October 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

At some point or another we’re going to have to fight these Persian maniacs. The bad news? The fight starts after two or more of their upgraded Shahab-3 missiles show up on American radar after leaving their Venezuelan launch sites. (German reporters for Der Spiegel exposed these launch facilities several years ago, early in Obama’s first term; the story was universially ignored by the American press.)

Why do I think Iranian leaders will use the bomb they’ve sacrificed so much to build? Because the mad mullahs of Iran are as crazy as we think they are. They are, after all, the same nutcases who hang teenage girls from cranes in public squares and order the stoning of homosexuals. That ‘Great Satan’ appellation they apply to America? It isn’t hyperbole. They mean it.

President Obama is constitutionally unprepared to deal with genuinely evil people. For one thing, like all Leftists he doesn’t accept the idea of ‘evil’. For another, he vastly overestimates his own powers of persuasion and diplomacy. Like his predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, President Obama thinks our adversaries are rational actors, ordinary men possessing ordinary human motivations. They are not.

As a mental exercise, imagine brokering a treaty with Charles Manson. That’s who and what we’re talking about here.

troyriser_gopftw on October 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

So who are the Saudi’s looking to to supply them with nukes?

kcewa on October 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Don’t worry, Obama is focusing on the important things…

Amnesty
Healthcare
Climate Change
Solar Power
Wind Power
Higher Taxes
More Regulation

All is well…keep voting Democrat…

PatriotRider on October 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Iran was also months away from a nuke 5 years ago.

It was also 3-5 years away from a nuke in 1992, Bibi told us

In 1984, Senator Alan Cranston stated that Iran was 7 years away from a nuke.

Gosh, do you ever feel like your government is not completely honest with you, not just on domestic issues, but maybe foreign affairs as well? Nah, all the dishonesty and corruption that we associate with our government’s domestic policies is magically erased and they become above reproach when they tell us that “We have always been at war with East Asia.”

iwasbornwithit on October 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Barrack “ShamWow” Obama: “If you call in the next 30 minutes you can get free rubbers at no extra charge!”

NotCoach on October 25, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Exactly.

Obama is a small, insignificant idiot of a man. Unfortunately, when he’s done everyone will be poorer, hungrier and in great danger. Democrats did this to America.

MTF on October 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Here’s a NY Times article from 1995 stating that Iran 5 years from nuke.

iwasbornwithit on October 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Iran nuclear program

Experts from Iran, 6 world powers to meet in Vienna on Oct. 30-31 to prepare next round of high-level talks on contested Iranian nuclear program – @Reuters

43 secs ago by editor

canopfor on October 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

This is all just stupid conservative fear mongering. After all The Won made that speech in Cairo and smoothed things over. He cleared up all the mess that Bush made and now they love us over there. Don’t you guys realize we’ve got more important stuff to worry about than a little insignificant country like Nazi Germany err….Iran getting some crude version of a nuclear bomb. Besides they told us several times that they’re only going to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. So what’s the problem?

Oldnuke on October 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

And where was Valerie Jarrett born?

Cindy Munford on October 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Thank you President Obama.

crr6 on May 1, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Del Dolemonte on October 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

A lot of things are going wrong all at once around here.

Cindy Munford on October 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I’m sure MSNBC will run a special on how this is all Ted Cruz’s fault.

Imrahil on October 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Iran a month away from a being nuked?

I’m looking at you Bibi.

Joe Mama on October 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Does that mean there’s light at the end of the tunnel?

claudius on October 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

And where was Valerie Jarrett born?

Cindy Munford on October 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Sometimes I’m really sorry that I know this stuff.

claudius on October 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Time to distract Americans …. lets start a war

roflmmfao

donabernathy on October 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

All the anti-Obama talk is just so much HOT AIR! He’s got the freeloading voters in his pocket and no disaster or outrage or combination of failures will have any effect on those voters who only think and vote what is best for their wallet.

Mainstream Republicans are now out to minimize the Tea Party. Why? Because they too want to befriend the freeloaders. Their efforts will fail and they will end up just where Obama wants them in HIS camp!

rpupton on October 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Inherited

DamnYankee on October 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

We should acted decades ago. They WILL use it and the first massive EMP will kill our country forever.

HomeoftheBrave on October 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

I wouldn’t say “forever” unless they also EMP eastern Asia.

Steve Eggleston on October 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

What do we have to fear from a little nation on the other side of the Earth, so sayeth Jumpin’ Joe Biden.

Thanks for getting this ball rolling way back in 1979, Carter, no really thank you.

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Don’t forget Plugs’ role in 1979 as well.

Steve Eggleston on October 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Obama gave them five years so far to develop nuclear warheads. “Smart Diplomacy”. If Iran gets them, if they use them, it’s because Obama failed to act. Israel and our allies warned Obama repeatedly.

thatsafactjack on October 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Iran was also months away from a nuke 5 years ago.

It was also 3-5 years away from a nuke in 1992, Bibi told us

In 1984, Senator Alan Cranston stated that Iran was 7 years away from a nuke.

Gosh, do you ever feel like your government is not completely honest with you, not just on domestic issues, but maybe foreign affairs as well? Nah, all the dishonesty and corruption that we associate with our government’s domestic policies is magically erased and they become above reproach when they tell us that “We have always been at war with East Asia.”

iwasbornwithit on October 25, 2013 at 11:32 AM

But they aren’t saying years they are saying 1 month. With years you scare people but its long enough so that when it doesn’t come true the American People don’t remember you said it.

magicbeans on October 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Iran a month away from a nuke? Time for comprehensive immigration reform!

Hot Gas on October 25, 2013 at 3:09 PM

So who are the Saudi’s looking to to supply them with nukes?

kcewa on October 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

China needs oil, too…

Who is John Galt on October 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I expect Iran will have a web-site built by CGI called “Nukes4You.Gov”. But it won’t be ready in a month.

They are sounding like North Korea and it’s tiring.

virgo on October 26, 2013 at 3:13 AM