No surprise: Iran 'closer to nuclear weapons than we thought'

A report issued by top international security experts says Iran was much closer to developing a workable nuclear bomb than anyone previously imagined.

The paper, authored by, among others, Institute for Science and International Security director David Albright and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) former deputy director General Olli Heinonen, concluded that "the information highlights dual-use, controlled equipment used at the site, such as a flash x-ray system utilizing a Marx generator and a variety of neutron measurement equipment, with electronics, designed to monitor high speed, explosively driven tests of a neutron source commonly used in a nuclear weapon."

Getting the neutron flow right is the difference between a nuclear dud and a nuclear boom.  It's basically a trial and error process that requires massive amounts of explosives.

The Express:

The report, written by watchdog director David Albright, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) former Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen and other top experts, concluded the findings "shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development".

The news follows a chilling warning by Iranian General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards force, who vowed to destroy Israel in a furious attack that raised fears of a major outbreak of conflict in the volatile Middle East.

Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: "I tell the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime that he should practice swimming in the Mediterranean.

"Because soon there will be no way to escape but the sea."

The Iranian regime consistently refers to the Israeli Government as "the Zionist regime" as a way of denying its legitimacy.

Obama partisans might point to this study as validating the nuclear deal with Iran.  Their reasoning is that if Iran was conducting tests to determine neutron flow in their weapon design, they were probably less than a year from testing a device, and the agreement forestalled them from having a nuclear weapons capability.

Nice try.  The fact is, the Parchin military base was deliberately left out of the IAEA inspection regime.  Ludicrously, Iranian scientists gave soil samples and other items requested by the IAEA without allowing inspectors on the base.  Nuclear inspectors are still kept from examining the "dual use" equipment on the base, so there's no way of knowing if testing is still going on – or has been completed.

There are so many holes in the IAEA inspection regime that it's possible that the Iranians already have all the elements needed to construct a nuclear weapon, requiring only a few weeks to enrich enough uranium to possess a workable bomb.

Interestingly, some of this new information came from a daring Israeli raid on a warehouse in Tehran last January that netted a treasure trove of information that Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted showed the Iranians in violation of the nuclear deal, but critics of Israel said there was nothing new.

Looks as though Netanyahu was right.

A report issued by top international security experts says Iran was much closer to developing a workable nuclear bomb than anyone previously imagined.

The paper, authored by, among others, Institute for Science and International Security director David Albright and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) former deputy director General Olli Heinonen, concluded that "the information highlights dual-use, controlled equipment used at the site, such as a flash x-ray system utilizing a Marx generator and a variety of neutron measurement equipment, with electronics, designed to monitor high speed, explosively driven tests of a neutron source commonly used in a nuclear weapon."

Getting the neutron flow right is the difference between a nuclear dud and a nuclear boom.  It's basically a trial and error process that requires massive amounts of explosives.

The Express:

The report, written by watchdog director David Albright, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) former Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen and other top experts, concluded the findings "shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development".

The news follows a chilling warning by Iranian General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards force, who vowed to destroy Israel in a furious attack that raised fears of a major outbreak of conflict in the volatile Middle East.

Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: "I tell the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime that he should practice swimming in the Mediterranean.

"Because soon there will be no way to escape but the sea."

The Iranian regime consistently refers to the Israeli Government as "the Zionist regime" as a way of denying its legitimacy.

Obama partisans might point to this study as validating the nuclear deal with Iran.  Their reasoning is that if Iran was conducting tests to determine neutron flow in their weapon design, they were probably less than a year from testing a device, and the agreement forestalled them from having a nuclear weapons capability.

Nice try.  The fact is, the Parchin military base was deliberately left out of the IAEA inspection regime.  Ludicrously, Iranian scientists gave soil samples and other items requested by the IAEA without allowing inspectors on the base.  Nuclear inspectors are still kept from examining the "dual use" equipment on the base, so there's no way of knowing if testing is still going on – or has been completed.

There are so many holes in the IAEA inspection regime that it's possible that the Iranians already have all the elements needed to construct a nuclear weapon, requiring only a few weeks to enrich enough uranium to possess a workable bomb.

Interestingly, some of this new information came from a daring Israeli raid on a warehouse in Tehran last January that netted a treasure trove of information that Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted showed the Iranians in violation of the nuclear deal, but critics of Israel said there was nothing new.

Looks as though Netanyahu was right.