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Israel: Iran has about 6 months to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon

Israeli Energy Minister said today, Tuesday, that Iran has about six months to produce enough fissile material needed for a nuclear weapon, which is almost twice the time that the Secretary of State expected in the administration of US President Joe Biden.

Israel is concerned about the Biden administration's intention to return to the nuclear agreement concluded with Iran in 2015, and it has long opposed the agreement. Washington says that the withdrawal of the previous US administration from the agreement had negative consequences, as it pushed Iran to abandon its obligations to restrict its nuclear activities.

Last month, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, the day before taking office in the new administration, that the time that Iran might need to enrich uranium to the degree of purity required to build a nuclear weapon "has decreased from more than a year (under the nuclear agreement) to between three or four. Almost months. " He said that his statements are based on published information.

But Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a radio interview that the Trump administration had "badly damaged Iran's nuclear project."

He told the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation (Makan) radio, "With regard to enrichment, they can reach the sufficient quantity within half a year if they do all that is necessary ... As for nuclear weapons, the period is about a year or two."

Iran has recently accelerated its abandonment of its obligations under the agreement, which it began violating its terms in 2019 in response to the US withdrawal from it and its re-imposition of sanctions.

The latest quarterly estimates by the International Atomic Energy Agency issued in November show that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium has risen to 2.4 tons, ten times more than permitted under the agreement but far less than the eight tons it had before.

Since then, Iran began enriching uranium with a higher degree of purity and returned to the level of 20 percent it had reached before the agreement, compared to the previous highest level of 4.5 percent. The agreement sets the permissible purity rate at 3.67 percent, which is far from the 90 percent required to build a nuclear weapon.

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