According to a recent analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, Iran now possesses sufficient weapons-grade uranium to manufacture a nuclear device within one week, marking a significant escalation in the nuclear threat from Tehran.
This development, classified as an "extreme danger" level for the first time, underscores the rapidly deteriorating security situation concerning Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The report, highlighted by the Free Beacon, points to a dramatic increase in the threat posed by Iran's nuclear capabilities since May 2023. The heightened tension in the Middle East, particularly following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, has ostensibly provided Iran with both the pretext and the distraction necessary to advance its nuclear weapons program. This advancement comes at a time when international attention and resources are thinly spread across multiple crises, potentially sidelining the critical issue of nuclear proliferation.
Iran's efforts to obscure its nuclear activities have intensified, including the construction of an underground facility designed to withstand conventional bunker-buster bombs. The report raises particular concern over Iran's nuclear breakout time—the period required to enrich uranium to 90 percent weapon-grade levels. With its current stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium, Iran could feasibly produce enough material for a nuclear weapon in a mere week, and potentially accumulate enough for six weapons within a month.
“The volatile situation in the region is providing Iran with a unique opportunity and increased internal justification for building nuclear weapons while the United States and Israel’s resources to detect and deter Iran from succeeding are stretched thin,” the report said. “The ongoing conflicts are leading to the neglect of the Iranian nuclear threat at a time when Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities have never been greater.”
“If Iran wanted to further enrich its 60 percent enriched uranium up to 90 percent weapon-grade uranium (WGU), used in Iran’s known nuclear weapons designs from the Amad Plan, it could do so quickly,” the report added. “It can break out and produce enough weapon-grade enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in a week, using only a fraction of its 60 percent enriched uranium. This breakout could be difficult for inspectors to detect promptly, if Iran took steps to delay inspectors’ access.”
“Using its remaining stock of 60 percent enriched uranium and its stock of near 20 percent enriched uranium, it could have in total enough weapon-grade uranium for six weapons in one month, and after five months of producing weapon-grade uranium, it could have enough for twelve,” it said.
Rebeccah Heinrichs of the Hudson Institute criticized the Obama-Biden administration's nuclear agreement with Iran, arguing that it failed to curb Tehran's ambitions and instead emboldened its regional aggression and nuclear development. The Biden administration's recent attempts to engage Iran and lift sanctions have only served to empower a more aggressive and unyielding regime, according to Heinrichs, the Daily Wire reported.
The timing of this report coincides with the Biden administration's criticized response to Iranian-backed terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq, highlighting the ongoing challenge of addressing Iran's multifaceted threat to regional and global security. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) has also noted a negative trend in U.S.-Iran relations, particularly in light of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) reports on Iran's accelerated uranium enrichment, which have not elicited a strong international response.