Iran Nuclear Scare Timeline Update XXXVIII:
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told a Russian new agency that because "an Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be a threat to the entire civilized world," the Israeli government "strongly hope[s] that the entire civilized world will come to realize what threat this regime is posing and take joint action to avert the nuclear threat posed by Iran, even if it would be necessary to conduct a pre-emptive strike."
And what's more civilized than a devastating coordinated assault on a sovereign nation of over 70 million people that hasn't attacked any other country in over two centuries and whose military spending per capita is among the lowest in the region?
Last week, on May 27, Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London reiterated his frequent claims that Iran is close to a nuclear breakout capability. Reuters quotes Fitzpatrick as saying "the totality of the evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt" that Iran was seeking a capability to make such weapons, continuing that "if Iran decided to 'weaponize' enrichment, it would need about 16 months to yield the first bomb's worth of highly enriched uranium at its Natanz enrichment facility, if all centrifuge machines were used for this purpose."
The report goes on:
At least six months would then be required to fashion the highly-refined uranium into a weapon, Fitzpatrick added. Developing a missile to deliver it would add to the timeline, the former senior U.S. State Department official said.Regarding the recent IAEA Safeguards Report, released on May 24, Fitzpatrick repeated the false allegations of Iran hawks like The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg and The New York Times' David Sanger. "The latest IAEA report includes evidence that what originally were thought to be just paper studies also include actual experiments, including on triggers for a nuclear weapon," he said, despite the fact that the new report included absolutely no evidence of any actual experiments, not even on triggers.
But one bomb would be insufficient as a credible deterrent.
"It would seem foolhardy for a nation to go for broke, with the international reaction that would entail, before it could manufacture at least a handful of weapons," Fitzpatrick said.
"Assembling such an arsenal would multiply both the amount of weapons-grade uranium that would be needed and the amount of time it would take Iran to reach the threshold capability."