KTRH Local Houston and Texas News
Clock is Ticking: Iran Moves Closer to Nuke
ByiHeartMedia’s Corey Olson
Mar 13, 2023
One of the worst fears of the U.S. and its allies is creeping toward reality. The Pentagon now believes Iran can make enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in about 12 days. That news came in testimony from a top U.S. defense official during a recent House hearing. This timetable represents a dramatic acceleration in Iran’s capability. The official said Iran making enough material for a bomb would have taken about one year in 2015, and even last year the timetable was still said to be months.
This development is not necessarily surprising, since Iran has been working toward advancing its nuclear enrichment program for years, before, during and after the 2015 nuclear deal with the Obama administration. “I’ll take (the Pentagon) at their word that the timetable is now about 12 days,” says Richard Stoll, political science professor at Rice University. “But even if they’re a little off, the principle is there—if you let (Iran) enrich, they can get closer and closer to what they need to have to build a nuclear weapon.”
While acknowledging Iran’s faster ability to produce fissile material, Pentagon officials do not believe Iran has the technology yet to actually build a bomb, nor the ability to launch one a long distance if it were built. Still, the idea of Iran one day possessing a nuke would be a game-changer on the international stage, especially for nearby countries. “Who would want to oppose them on any issue, including those issues where the United States opposes them, knowing that Iran has nuclear weapons,” says Stoll. “If Iran wants to be the dominant country in that region and I’m another country there, given that they have nuclear weapons I’m not going to oppose it.”
While Iran repeatedly threatens the U.S. and its allies, the Biden administration continues to promote diplomacy and push for a return to the 2015 Obama-era agreement. Stoll warns the solution is not that simple. “Go back to the nuclear agreement, if both sides will do that,” he tells KTRH. “But that should not blind us to the fact that we will continue to have to deal with an Iran operating against our interests in that region.”