Tuesday, 26 October, 2021

Iran is a ‘MONTH away from having enough lethal uranium to build nuclear bomb’ in chilling threat to West, experts claim


IRAN is a “month away” from having enough lethal uranium to build a nuclear bomb in a chilling threat to the West, experts claim.

Tehran is closer than ever to reaching bomb-grade level uranium since the 2015 nuclear deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Iran's new leader Ebrahim Raisi, known as the Butcher of Tehran

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Iran’s new leader Ebrahim Raisi, known as the Butcher of TehranCredit: Rex
Iran could me a month away from having enough nuclear fuel for a bomb, experts warn

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Iran could me a month away from having enough nuclear fuel for a bomb, experts warnCredit: Handout

Experts studying data from reports published by the IAEA last week claim Iran has gained the capability to produce enough fuel for a single nuclear warhead, according to the New York Times.

Analysts from Institute for Science and International Security – a private think tank – said that a race over the summer to enrich uranium at 60 per cent purity – just below bomb grade – has put Iran in a position to produce the fuel for a bomb in “as short as one month”.

A second weapon’s worth of fuel could be produced in less than three months and a third in less than five, it says.

US officials have been banned from discussing official assessments but concede the pariah state could be months away from its first nuke, the New York Times adds.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted terms under a prior deal America pulled out of would have to be upgraded due to Iran’s quick fuel gain over summer.

“I’m not going to put a date on it, but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance,” he said.

“As time goes on and as Iran continues to make advances in its nuclear program, including spinning more sophisticated centrifuges, enriching more material, learning more, there is a point at which it would be very difficult to regain all of the benefits” of the 2015 nuclear deal.

He added: “We’re not at that point yet, but it’s getting closer.”

The US pulled out of a nuclear accord in 2019 that forced Iran to ship out more than 97 per cent of its fuel.

The announcement comes as Iran agreed to allow international inspectors to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras at sensitive nuclear sites, but won’t let them have the footage.

Director-General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi told reporters on his return from Tehran: “We had a major, major communication breakdown with Iran, which, of course, is something we cannot afford, having so many important issues that we need to solve. And I think that was solved.”

The IAEA told member states in its confidential quarterly report last week that verification and monitoring activities have been “seriously undermine” since February by Iran’s refusal to let inspectors access their monitoring equipment.

TEH-ROR THREAT

The recent announcement comes after Israel warned Tehran was ten weeks away from a nuclear bomb in early August.

Israel’s defence minister Benny Gantz said that “now is the time for deeds – words are not enough,” as he warned the hardliner Islamic Republic had enough fuel to stock a nuclear warhead.

“It is time for diplomatic, economic, and even military deeds, otherwise the attacks will continue,” he told the news website Ynet.

Asked whether Israel was ready to strike Iran if need be, Gantz simply responded: “Yes.”

Western intelligence officials say Iran is now deliberately concealing key components of its controversial nuclear programme from UN inspectors.

The equipment reportedly being hidden from sight includes essential parts and pumps for centrifuges – the machines used to enrich uranium to weapons grade.

Many of the illicit components are being being stored at secret sites which are run by the country’s feared Revolutionary Guard Corps, reports the Telegraph.

In March, the Sun Online also told of how Iran had nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since November and now has more than enough to make a nuke.

Spies believe the hidden material – which should be declared under terms of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal – is being secretly stored in dozens of containers at various sites.

Western intelligence agencies have released images believed to nuclear operations at Isfahan and Fordo in iran

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Western intelligence agencies have released images believed to nuclear operations at Isfahan and Fordo in iran
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at a news conference following his visit to Iran

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IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at a news conference following his visit to IranCredit: Reuters
An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan

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An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility at IsfahanCredit: AP:Associated Press
Biden claims Iran ‘will NEVER get nuclear weapon on my watch’ in crunch meeting with Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin

What was the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement?

BROKERED by the Obama White House and signed by seven world powers, the Iran nuclear deal aimed to reduce the country’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.

However, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal last year – branding it “horrible” and “one-sided”.

Iran has also pledged to breach the agreement until it receives the sanctions relief it says it is owed.

The deal was an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear weapons programme.

It saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.

Enriched uranium is a critical component for making nuclear weapons and in nuclear power stations and by curbing the amount Iran produce is a way to curb the number of weapons produced.

As part of the agreement, Iran also agreed to only enrich their uranium up to 3.67 per cent over the next 15 years and they agreed to reduce their gas centrifuges for 13 years.

Gas centrifuges are used to separate different types of uranium which allows specific types to then be used to manufacture nuclear weapons or generators.

Iranian nuclear facilities were limited to a single facility with only first-generation centrifuges for 10 years and other nuclear facilities had to be converted into other use.

In addition, they were barred from building any more heavy-water faculties – a type of nuclear reactor which uses heavy water (deuterium oxide) as a coolant to maintain temperatures in the reactor.

Also under the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency was granted regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities to ensure Iran maintains the deal.

If Iran abided by the deal it was promised relief from the US, European Union, and the United Nations Security Council on all nuclear-related economic sanctions.

The agreement was reached on July 14, 2015, and the world powers signed it in Vienna.

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