Iran is 'a few weeks' from putting together a nuclear bomb
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Iran is set to enrich enough uranium to build a functional nuclear weapon, according to US intelligence estimates. Commenting on the timeline, the former US Army chief of staff has spoken out to warn that Iran’s nuclear weapons programme was “dangerously close” to completion.
Asked how serious the threat of Iran getting a nuclear weapon is, Mr Keane told Sky News Australia: “Well, that’s a fascinating question, and it was just answered a few days ago by the Biden administration special envoy to the Iran negotiations, Robin O’Malley, when asked that question he said, I quote, ‘They’re a few weeks from being able to put together a nuclear bomb.’
“A few weeks! Because they’re at 60 percent enrichment grade uranium and to get to 90 percent weapons grade doesn’t take much.
“The other caveat to that though, is having a bomb is one thing, weaponising it, and so you can deliver it is quite something else.
“Our intelligence services believe it would still take around about a year to be able to take a bomb and miniaturise it so it could be put on a ballistic missile or some other delivery device.”
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But yes, we are dangerously close here, Andrew,” continued the retired general.
“I think of all the areas dealing in the world where there is not conflict.
“This is the one that has the most significant potential for conflict.”
The Iranian military warned the United States and Israel on Friday against threatening Iran with force, Iranian media reported, after US President Joe Biden said he would use force as a last resort to prevent Tehran from getting a nuclear weapon.
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“The Americans and Zionists (Israel) know very well the price for using the word ‘force against Iran,'” Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for the Iranian armed forces, was quoted as saying by state media.
“Biden must have been drowsy when he threatened Iran,” he said, adding, “Watch your soldiers’ pants – they might get wet in the Persian Gulf!”
Asked by Israeli television this week whether his past statements that he would prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon meant he would use force against Iran, Biden replied: “If that was the last resort, yes.”
On Thursday, Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge to deny Iran nuclear arms, an apparent move toward accommodating Israel’s calls for a “credible military threat” by world powers.
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Iran denies seeking seeks nuclear weapons, saying that its nuclear program is for solely peaceful purposes.
Tehran struck a deal with six major powers in 2015 under which it limited its uranium enrichment program to make it harder to develop a nuclear weapon in return for relief from international sanctions.
US President Donald Trump reneged on the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to start violating the agreement’s nuclear limits about a year later.
Diplomatic efforts to resurrect the deal have so far failed.
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