Iran Nuke – 2 Months From When?

There’s one of those “little things” that bother me that has been, well, bothering me.

For most of the last 3 or 4 months of “negotiations” with Iran over their nuclear bomb program, we’ve been hearing that Iran is “2 months away form a nuclear bomb”. Now Congress is going to take “2 months” (really 60 days… but…) to “review the deal”. Then there will be another month or two while things get implemented.

Now I’m not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but sometimes I catch a clue.

Isn’t 3 months + 2 months + 1 month > 2 months?

It sure seems to me like Iran ought to have a bomb already if those timing reports are / were at all accurate.

I’ve bolded some bits in the quotes below. Here’s one of the oldest claims, from WND, I could find in a quick search:

Former IAEA director warns Tehran could nix deal, arm itself quickly
Published: 01/19/2014 at 7:44 PM

If Iran breaks its deal with the West tomorrow, the country would be only two to three weeks away from producing enough highly enriched uranium to assemble a nuclear weapon, according to Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Heinonen directed the safeguards division of the United Nations body charged with enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

So the IAEA, the agency that is supposed to be on top of all this, through a “former Deputy Director”, said they were 3 WEEKS away, a year and a half ago.

Iran’s Nuclear Timetable

June 17, 2015

This report estimates how soon Iran could fuel a nuclear weapon. With its thousands of gas centrifuges, Iran now has the ability to enrich uranium to a grade suitable for use in nuclear reactors or to a higher grade suitable for use in nuclear warheads. The data below, which are based on reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency, describe Iran’s uranium stockpile, its centrifuges, and the rate at which its nuclear capacity is growing.


By using the approximately 9,000 first generation centrifuges operating at its Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, Iran could theoretically produce enough weapon-grade uranium to fuel a single nuclear warhead in less than 2 months. This timetable is longer if Iran operates fewer centrifuges, or feeds the machines with natural uranium rather than low-enriched uranium.

Iran’s more advanced IR-2m centrifuges, about 1,000 of which are installed at Natanz, would allow Iran to produce weapon-grade uranium more quickly.

These folks were saying “2 months” about a month ago. But faster if they use all their gear including the new stuff.

How about a mainstream global news service of long standing reputation:

World | Tue Apr 8, 2014 5:43pm EDT Related: WORLD, UNITED NATIONS

U.S. warns on Iran ‘breakout’ capability as nuclear talks start


The United States said on Tuesday Iran has the ability to produce fissile material for a nuclear bomb in two months, if it so decided, as Tehran and six world powers swung into a new round of talks in Vienna on resolving their atomic dispute.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments in Washington highlighted Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions and the wide divisions between the two sides that could still foil a deal. Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

Back in April of 2014 we have a US claim of, wait for it, “two months”… 15 months ago.


So which “2 months” was it? (Is it?)

A Lie, or an OMG Lie?

Somebody is lying. The only question is: who?

Well, and maybe “By how much?”

Was the USA lying in April of 2014? Was Kerry lying (just about any time he opened his mouth)? Was the IAEA lying in Jan of 2014? Are the IranWatch folks lying now, saying that it’s still a ways out?

Or maybe more pointedly, look at the date on that first “old” link above from WND “Published: 01/19/2014 at 7:44 PM” and compare with this one from, well, WND: “Published: 11/27/2013 at 8:29 PM”.

Now I make that November 2013 is, roughly, “2 months” before January 2014. So did Iran have the bomb in January 2014 and we didn’t notice?


Warns of loopholes on centrifuges, undeclared sites
Published: 11/27/2013 at 8:29 PM

TEL AVIV – The deal between Iran and Western powers leaves Tehran just two months away from enriching enough uranium to assemble one nuclear weapon, according to an analysis by Olli Heinonen, the former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector.

Heinonen was the IAEA’s deputy director-general for safeguards until 2010.

In an email to WND, he explained that the deal that requires Iran to cap its uranium enrichment at 5 percent instead of its current 20 percent constantly would leave the country two months away from the technical ability to build a nuke.

Wrote Heinonen:

“Let us look at the current the facts on the ground. With Iran’s inventory of 20% enriched uranium, it would take about 2 weeks using 6000 IR-1 centrifuges, operating in tandem cascades, to produce enough weapons grade material for one nuclear device. If Iran uses 3-5 % enriched uranium as feed material at all its currently installed 18,000 IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow, the same result would be achieved in two months.

I’m having a bit of a “Groundhog Day” moment here… I keep reliving the same “Nuke Scare in 2 Months” moment month after month, year after year.

The Iranian Angle

Now just for my own bit of pot stirring…

Was any of this true, or is it all one big fat lie to use to bludgeon Iran?

Were I Iran, what would I have been doing for these multiple years of “2 months”?

And just why come to the table now?

First off, I’d presume there was a fair amount of “sellers puff” in those 2 months stories. (Especially a couple of years later). But I’d also presume that Iran isn’t stupid, and has in fact been working for all it is worth to get The Bomb. Further, you don’t just scrap a multi-$Billions game changing program that grants you local hegemony and superior military strength over most of your neighbors at the very last step.

So again, why now?

My rampant speculation is pretty simple: Iran already has a bomb. They are pretty sure it will work (Pakistani plans, so that one was known to function even if not all that well – low yield). But they also suspect (rightly I’d wager) that once they do the test shot they will not be seeing their $150 Billion of frozen assets… What does a rational Islamist State do?
Lie to the infidel (it’s in the Koran).

I speculate that Iran is “negotiating” just to get the money back. Once that money is repatriated (likely as gold or other hard assets) they will proceed with their “test shot” and announce to the world that:”The USA just took too long to sign the ‘deal’ and, well, sorry they were so slow, but we’re a nuclear power now, so the ‘deal’ is moot.” For Iran, a “Win-Win” (nuke AND the Money), for the USA, a “Lose-Lose”. What’s not to like?

The alternative explanation, that Iran is just going to pack up and give up when they already ought to have crossed the finish line so at the very worst case are standing with their toes on it; just doesn’t “fit”. Not in their character.

But the reality of “the known facts” is simply that everyone seems to be lying and we have no clue what is the real state of affairs. Deal or no deal, nuke or no nuke, and the money is in play.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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5 Responses to Iran Nuke – 2 Months From When?

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    I concur with these additional notes:
    I assume they already have at least a crude little boy style gun assembly device nominal yield about 12k, they are so simple to build and so reliable that the US did not even bother testing the design before it was used in combat.

    They probably have a first generation Paki design as you mentioned.

    I suspect that they have been working with North Korea “outsourcing” some of their enrichment operations, providing new improve centrifuge designs to NK in exchange for being able to do enrichent “off shore” where it is not monitored. It is well known that they are working with them on missile tech and that Iranian observers have special access to the NK nuclear tests. The most recent “low yield” nuclear tests in N Korea might in my view actually have been tests of Iranian designs optimized for EMP. You don’t need much yield in an EMP enhanced design.

    There have also been reports that they might be doing some work off shore in Somalia. If they have been consistently hiding a small fraction of their production for years they might have an adequate weapons grade stockpile for several weapon cores already. Like Israel I suspect they are building an undocumented capability in the back room while using known facilities as cover for inspections.
    Open sources have reported that they are likely doing advanced explosive testing for an implosion device, so are probably working toward an implosion PU device, which implies they already have a simple Uranium based device in hand.

    They have already tested a sea launched scud capability which would be necessary for an EMP attack given their current lack of heavy lift ICBM capability,

    (although they do already have orbital capability for light payloads)

    I am operating under the assumption that they already have the capacity but are working toward a much larger operational objective.

    keep in mind that 3 other countries have already successfully built home grown nuclear capability at in secret. (Israel, South Africa, Pakistan).

    It is also worth noting that South Africa did not use centrifuge technology to do their enrichment of 233 for their design, but supersonic nozzle technology (vortex tube design) which would not be impacted by restrictions on use of centrifuges.

    My assumption is that they probably have 2-5 operational crude devices or could build them in a matter of weeks.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Um, didn’t the Indian program also do their build / test in secret? IIRC they did a bunch of tests all in one batch of about a week or two, knowing that all hell would break loose once done and they would be hard pressed to have a second batch. Included a small one made with power reactor PU along with a U233 device IIRC (as proof of concept that it CAN be done, and it did work).

    Didn’t know about the votex tube approach. Oh Dear… Thanks, I think…

  3. L. E. Joiner says:

    EM: Yes, your explanation makes sense: the Iranians could have gone ahead with at least one bomb at any time recently, but playing the negotiations game with the Obambi administration meant they could get rid of the pesky sanctions-—that’s at least $150 billion plus ongoing oil revenues. So what’s the rush?

    They also will want to have built up an inventory of bombs and components before making the big announcement. As LL says, other countries have even managed to test in secret, so it’s not inconceivable the Iranians have done so, too.

    Now the big question: Is Israeli Intel good enough to know where the Iranians really are? Or are they just getting snookered, too? I wouldn’t put it past the fanatical anti-Semites in Iran to do their tests over Tel Aviv.

    /Mr Lynn

  4. BobN says:

    Iran stalled for years on the negotiation and have the bomb, but the dopey American negotiators kept backing down and giving in to their demands so they decided to ride that horse a while. they get sanctions dropped, collect their frozen assets and collect goodies from the Americans. Waiting a bit buys them so much, they would be crazy to pop the bomb until everything is in place. One they get sanctions dropped and trade going, they know it will be real hard to get the sanction returned. They are light years ahead of our negotiators. Then I don’t think Obama cared if they got it in the first place, I believe his whole actions were to help Iran and hurt Israel.

  5. Glenn999 says:

    maybe obam needs time to get his house ready in hawaii

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