Iran could produce enough enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within four months, experts have told a U.S. congressional committee.
The rate of Iran's uranium enrichment has accelerated despite cyber sabotage from the Stuxnet virus in 2009, the experts said. Based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), "It's clear that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon very quickly should it wish to do so", said Stephen Rademaker of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Iran has produced 3345 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.5 per cent, according to the agency. (AFP)
See also Brinkmanship, Taboos: Behind the Scenes of Failed Iran Nuclear Talks - Barak Ravid
The intensive talks held in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday between Iran and the six powers ended in failure. A Western diplomat who asked to remain anonymous said that one major obstacle revealed by the Moscow talks relates to the underground facility for uranium enrichment in Fordo, near the city of Qum. According to the diplomat, the Iranians refused to discuss the Fordo plant at all. The Iranians were surprised that delegates from the six powers managed to maintain a united front throughout the discussions. The Iranians had hoped to bring the Chinese and Russian delegates into their corner. (Ha'aretz) Israeli Strike on Iran Stays on Hold, for Now - Joshua Mitnick
Israel is unlikely to launch a strike on Iran as long as sanctions on Tehran intensify and diplomatic efforts continue, despite the failure of international talks in Moscow this week, Israeli officials and security experts said.
That puts Israeli leaders in a bind: While lack of progress on diplomatic attempts to curb Iran's nuclear program bolsters Israel's position that Tehran won't compromise, it needs to wait for diplomacy and sanctions to be exhausted so it can better persuade others to join it in taking tougher measures, analysts said.
Some Israeli officials worry that Iran will eventually offer an 11th-hour compromise that will split the international negotiators, a group known as the P5+1.
Israeli experts are divided on what approach would prompt Iran to change course. Some say only a credible threat of military action by the West will work. "Sanctions are known to take a very long time to have an impact on the country you are targeting," said Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations. "It's important to put in place, but the clock is ticking." (Wall Street Journal)