Whoever negotiates with Iran must acknowledge that the enrichment of uranium from a low level (3.5% to 19.75%) to weapons-grade level (90%) is only one of three dimensions of Iran’s nuclear strategy. A second dimension is Iran’s progress toward a quick “breakout capability” through the stockpiling of large quantities of low-enriched uranium that could be further enriched rapidly to provide weapons-grade fuel. Third, Iran also appears to be pursuing a parallel track to a nuclear capability through the production of plutonium. If there is going to be a nuclear deal with Iran, all three parts of its strategy must be addressed.
Western experts like Olli Heinonen estimate that if Iran decided to develop a bomb today, it could do so within three to five months. But a recent report from the Institute for Science and International Security estimates that at its current pace of centrifuge installation, Iran could reduce its breakout time to just one month by the end of this year and, by mid-2014, Iran could reduce the breakout time to less than two weeks. Moderate messages from Tehran should not be allowed to camouflage Iran’s continuing progress toward a bomb. Read the full article here.