Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Iran could make bomb 'within 10 months'

09 October 2012, 12:39

Washington - Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to make an atomic bomb within two to four months and then would need an additional eight to 10 months to build the device, experts said on Monday.

The authors of a new report on Iran's nuclear programme say Tehran has made progress in its uranium enrichment effort but that the United States and UN weapons inspectors would be able to detect any attempt at a "breakout" - at least for the moment.

The report, released by the Institute for Science and International Security, offers estimates on uranium stockpiles and enrichment rates based on figures from inspections of Iran's programme by the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

To amass the 25kg of highly-enriched uranium needed for one nuclear weapon, Iran "would require at least 2-4 months".

To reach that goal, Iran would have to draw on its uranium enriched to 3.5% as well as stocks of 20% enriched uranium, it said.

The report appears roughly in line with the US government's view that once Iran made a decision to make a bomb, Tehran could be months away from generating sufficient amounts of weapons-grade material and then additional months would be required to construct a device.

A year for US to take action

The findings confirm comments made to AFP last month by one of the authors, David Albright, a leading expert on Iran's nuclear project.

Once Iran had generated enough highly-enriched uranium, it could take about eight to 10 months to construct a nuclear weapon, Albright said on Monday.

Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on 11 September that the United States would have about a year to take action if Iran decided to build a nuclear weapon.

The time needed for Iran to quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and "dash" or "break out" to make the bomb would give the United States and its allies time to react if necessary, the report said.

"Although Iran's breakout times are shortening, an Iranian breakout in the next year could not escape detection by the IAEA or the United States.

"Furthermore, the United States and its allies maintain the ability to respond forcefully to any Iranian decision to break out. During the next year or so, breakout times at Natanz and Fordow [facilities] appear long enough to make an Iranian decision to break out risky," it said.

Under pressure

But as Iran's supply of 20% enriched uranium increases, the time needed to produce enough material for a bomb or bombs will decrease, it said.

Iran's expanding network of centrifuges could make it increasingly difficult for inspectors to spot Tehran's progress, it said.

"Iran may be seeking the ability to produce sufficient WGU [weapons grade uranium] faster than the IAEA inspectors could detect it," the authors wrote.

Despite repeated accusations from Western countries and critical findings from UN inspectors, Iran insists its nuclear programme is designed purely for peaceful purposes.

The United States is under pressure from Israel to set a precise deadline for military action but prefers for now to pursue a course of ever tighter sanctions to try to force Tehran to the negotiating table.

Iran denies it is seeking atomic weapons, maintaining that its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes.

Process might be undetectable

Once Iran possesses enough weapons-grade material for a bomb, it would be extremely difficult for UN monitors or outside countries to determine if Tehran had built a nuclear device, the report said.

"If Iran successfully produced enough WGU for a nuclear weapon, the ensuing weaponisation process might not be detectable until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons," it said.

"Therefore, the most practical strategy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is to prevent it from accumulating sufficient nuclear explosive material."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...