The best single article on why the Iran nuke deal is a bad one
The Obama administration agues that the breakout time for Iran to develop a bomb, if they choose to do so, will extended from 2-3 months to about a year as a result of the current deal. This is patently false. This article in the New York Times (!) today suggests that the increase in the breakout time that will result from the deal is from two months to three months, or a net gain of one month. For this, Iran will have sanctions eliminated, and $150 billion released. Does this sound like a fair exchange?
Alan J. Kuperman writes in “The Iran Deal’s Fatal Flaw”:
Breakout time is determined by three primary factors: the number and type of centrifuges; the enrichment of the starting material; and the amount of enriched uranium required for a nuclear weapon. Mr. Obama seems to make rosy assumptions about all three.
Most important, in the event of an overt attempt by Iran to build a bomb, Mr. Obama’s argument assumes that Iran would employ only the 5,060 centrifuges that the deal would allow for uranium enrichment, not the roughly 14,000 additional centrifuges that Iran would be permitted to keep mainly for spare parts. Such an assumption is laughable. In a real-world breakout, Iran would race, not crawl, to the bomb. (snip)
…since the deal would permit Iran to keep only a small amount of enriched uranium in the gaseous form used in centrifuges, Mr. Obama assumes that a dash for the bomb would start mainly from unenriched uranium, thereby lengthening the breakout time. But the deal would appear to also permit Iran to keep large amounts of enriched uranium in solid form (as opposed to gas), which could be reconverted to gas within weeks, thus providing a substantial head-start to producing weapons-grade uranium.
Third, Mr. Obama’s argument assumes that Iran would require 59 pounds of weapons-grade uranium to make an atomic bomb. In reality, nuclear weapons can be made from much smaller amounts of uranium (as experts assume North Korea does in its rudimentary arsenal). A 1995 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that even a “low technical capability” nuclear weapon could produce an explosion with a force approaching that of the Hiroshima bomb — using just 29 pounds of weapons-grade uranium.