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Tags: nuclear | weapons | uranium | enrichment | iran | jcpoa

Analysts: Iran Just 3 Months Away From 4 'Crude' Nukes

a flag of iran is pictured next to a missile
(Vahid Reza Alaei/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 June 2022 01:56 PM EDT

Iran already has the capability for a compact nuclear explosive and the Institute for Science and International Security estimates the country is just three months from having four "crude" nuclear weapons.

A nuclear-tipped ballistic missile is still another six months to two years off for Iran, but the think tank warns the Middle East countries — namely rival Israel — should be on alert amid uranium enrichment efforts, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"It has enough 60% enriched uranium or highly enriched uranium (HEU) to be assured it could fashion a nuclear explosive," David Albright and Sarah Burkhard wrote in a paper, estimating the timeline as "within a few weeks, with only a few of its advanced centrifuge cascades."

This would not be a fully capable long-range ballistic missile, according to Albright, who theorizes Iran could make a smaller nuclear weapon at just 60% enrichment as opposed to the long-held scientific norm of 90%, according to the report.

"With this quantity, an enrichment level of 60% suffices to create a relatively compact nuclear explosive," he wrote, the Post reported.

The paper outlined a timeline for nuclear weapons advancements as the world continues to sit on a new Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — put in place by the Obama administration but decertified by the Trump administration.

"Within a month, it could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a second nuclear explosive from its existing stock of near 20% low enriched uranium," the paper continued. "Within 1.5 months after starting breakout, it could accumulate enough for a third nuclear weapon, using its remaining near 20% enriched uranium and some of its 4.5% enriched uranium."

Then, the paper concluded, just "2.75 months after starting breakout, it could have a fourth quantity by further enriching 4.5% enriched uranium up to 90%. At six months, it could have produced a fifth quantity by further enriching both 4.5% enriched uranium and natural uranium. The accumulation for a sixth would take several months longer."

Albright and Burkhard already have reported Iran would be at 60% enrichment by late April.

"Iran is expected to reach a new, dangerous, destabilizing threshold, having enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) to fashion a nuclear explosive, about 40-42 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium (uranium mass)," they wrote in a past paper, the Post reported. "With this quantity, an enrichment level of 60% suffices to create a relatively compact nuclear explosive; further enrichment to 80 or 90% is not needed.

"According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, 41.7 kg of 60%-enriched uranium is a significant quantity, which the IAEA defines as the 'approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive cannot be excluded.'"

"A common fallacy is that Iran would require 90% HEU, more commonly called weapons-grade uranium, to build nuclear explosives," Albright continued.

"Although Iran's nuclear weapons designs have focused on 90% HEU and likely prefer that enrichment, modifying them for 60% HEU would be straightforward and well within Iran's capabilities."

Albright noted lower enriched uranium was combined with the highest-enriched material to form the Hiroshima "Little Boy" bomb dropped by the U.S.

Albright's paper included allegations Iran had engaged in a cover-up of its nuclear program efforts from nuclear inspectors, the Post reported.

The allegations pointed to evidence former Iran nuclear chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was involved in the cover-up, according to Albright. Fakhrizadeh was killed in November 2020 by a remote-controlled weapon that Iran believes was the work of Israeli operatives.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Iran already has the capability for a compact nuclear explosive and the Institute for Science and International Security estimates the country is just three months from having four "crude" nuclear weapons.
nuclear, weapons, uranium, enrichment, iran, jcpoa
571
2022-56-01
Wednesday, 01 June 2022 01:56 PM
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