The story comes from The Telegraph.
Iran could have enough enriched uranium for nuclear bomb 'within months'
Iran could turn its stockpile of enriched uranium into enough material for one nuclear bomb within two months, a new analysis has concluded
While diplomats are cautiously optimistic about the chances of settling the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the country’s experts are still amassing enriched uranium and the centrifuges used to make this material.
Tehran has a stockpile of 7.7 tons of low and medium-enriched uranium and 10,190 operating centrifuges, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It has another 9,272 centrifuges which are currently lying idle.
If Iran’s scientists were to bring all these machines into service and then use them to enrich their existing hoard of uranium to the 90 per cent level used for a nuclear weapon, this operation could be completed in about one month and 20 days, according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a US think tank that monitors Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Iran would have this option even assuming that it has stopped producing more medium-enriched uranium, as one report suggested on Thursday. A dash to produce weapons-grade uranium is known as “breakout” capability.
“The shortening breakout times have implications for any negotiations with Iran. An essential finding is that they are currently too short and shortening further,” reads the ISIS report.
If Iran were to attempt a “breakout” to produce weapons-grade uranium, the IAEA inspectors who monitor its nuclear plants would probably detect this effort.
The biggest danger would come if the country’s scientists managed to reduce the time needed to produce the material to less than a month.
If so, they might be able to complete the operation in between IAEA inspections and avoid detection.
They would still need another year or so in order to turn the weapons-grade uranium into a nuclear warhead deliverable on a missile.
But ISIS warned that any process of “weaponisation” would happen in secret, meaning that it could be impossible to detect “until Iran tested its nuclear device underground or otherwise revealed its acquisition of nuclear weapons.”