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Israel predicts six-month timeline for Iran to have enough fissile for nuclear weapons

Cameron Kerkes, DCNF

Israel’s energy minister predicted Tuesday that Iran is six months away from making the fissile necessary to build a nuclear weapon, according to Reuters.

“In terms of enrichment, they (Iranians) are in a situation of breaking out in around half a year if they do everything required,” said Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s energy minister, adding that the Trump administration “seriously damaged Iran’s nuclear project and entire force build-up,” according to a translation by Reuters.

The U.S. State Department estimates that Iran could be weeks away from having the fissile for nuclear weapons unless the U.S. re-joins the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also called the Iran nuclear deal.

In an interview with MSNBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken estimated that “the time that it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is down to, we think, a few months… [and] if Iran continues to lift some of these restraints imposed by the agreement, that could get down to a matter of weeks.”

Iran has violated terms of the deal for years by exceeding limits set on the amount of nuclear materials the country can produce, according to Reuters. Iran also breached the terms of the agreement by test-firing ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface to surface artillery, according to the Huffington Post.

Iran publicly stated it would no longer honor the terms from the previous nuclear deal after the U.S. killed Iran’s former Quds force leader Qasem Soleimani, who was allegedly planning to kill possibly hundreds of Americans, in January 2020. Days later, Iran fired ballistic missiles onto Al Assad Air Base, an attack that did not kill any U.S. troops.

Re-entering the Nuclear Deal would limit the amount of enriched uranium, among other materials Iran could stockpile and make, but ultimately it makes it easier for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, which would only take about 10 years even if Iran fully complied, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

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