Iran is closer than ever to nuclear weapons.
The latest International Atomic Energy Agency report suggests that Iran has enriched a small amount of uranium to 83.7%, very close to weapons grade.
Iran says there may have been “unintended fluctuations” in enrichment levels.
Iran could build a nuclear bomb within weeks.
“Iran is a potential nuclear power,” said Ali Akbar Daleini, a researcher and writer for the journal of the Center for Strategic Studies in Tehran. “This means that Iran has the technical capability to build nuclear weapons if it makes a political decision. Although Iran has not made the political decision to weaponize its nuclear program , acquiring the technology and owning the technology to enrich uranium creates a deterrent in itself.”
What happened to your dealings with the JCPOA?
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Action Plan or JCPOA Agreement signed by the P5+1 countries (China, France, Russia, UK, US and Germany) prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons and exempts it from oversight by IAEA inspectors. Allowed.
In return, Iran was freed from devastating economic sanctions.
“Iran’s breakout capacity was only 3 months. However, after the JCPOA was implemented, this breakout capacity was extended to 1 year. We gave a lot of concessions,” Daleini added.
However, many critics viewed the deal as “flawed”, saying that the restrictions apply only to Iran’s nuclear weapons program and that effective restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and other offensive policies and actions are said no.
Including then-US President Donald Trump. In 2018, President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA agreement.
Since then, Iran has openly enriched uranium to 60% purity.
“The deal was not perfect, but it still hampered Iran’s progress and in some ways set back Iran’s progress,” said Meir Litvak, a professor at Tel Aviv University. “What happened was when Trump withdrew from an agreement that Iran had not violated from 2015 to 2018. After 2020, Iran started violating the agreement. The thing is, not only did we have more nuclear centrifuges than before, but we also enriched a lot of uranium.”
Iran has one nuclear power plant and many underground nuclear facilities.
These sites are regular targets of Israeli air raids and attacks.
“Israel is following the begin doctrine, a doctrine that seeks to prevent any country in the Middle East from becoming a nuclear power. We have launched attacks on suspected Syrian facilities,” Daleini said.
“They (Israel) tried to do the same thing against Iran to launch similar preemptive strikes against Iran. But Iran learned important lessons from these attacks,” said Daleini. added. “We have deployed nuclear facilities over a vast area of the country, building multiple sites deep in the mountains to protect them from any attack. is in.”
How are nuclear weapons made?
Manufacturing nuclear weapons is a long and complicated process.
Uranium is enriched to just 5% to generate electricity. To make a nuclear bomb, uranium must be enriched to at least 90%.
Uranium is composed of two isotopes. 99.3 percent U-238 and 0.7 percent U-235. The latter is used to generate nuclear energy.
A centrifuge is used to separate the two isotopes. Heavy U-238 is discarded and light U-235 is reinjected into the next centrifuge.
Many centrifuges are required to obtain large amounts of usable uranium-235.
Plutonium can also be used to make nuclear bombs. It is produced along with uranium in nuclear power plants. Separate the uranium and extract the plutonium.
It takes 25kg of uranium-235 and 8kg of plutonium-239 to make a nuclear bomb.
The final challenge is to actually build a device with an explosive system and explosives capable of triggering the required nuclear fission chain reaction.
Middle East on alert
Many Middle Eastern countries such as Turkiye and Saudi Arabia, as well as some of Israel’s allies and strategic partners, have made significant progress in their nuclear programs.
In January 2023, US and Israeli forces conducted their largest bilateral exercise to date. This was much of the mission necessary to thwart Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but experts say the country’s recent violations of the agreement could give it time to acquire enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb. It warns that the frame has been shortened.
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