Speaking to the US House Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl falsely testified that Iran could make enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in “about 12 days.”
Kahl claims that Iran’s enrichment capacity has increased sufficiently over the course of the past five years — since the US abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka the “Iran nuclear deal” — to reduce that timeline from more like a year, and regrets that the JCPOA is “on ice.”
Kahl as the third ranking DOD official said in his testimony, “Because Iran’s nuclear progress since we left the JCPOA has been remarkable. Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb’s worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days.”
He continued: “And so I think there is still the view that if you could resolve this issue diplomatically and put constraints back on their nuclear program, it is better than the other options. But right now, the JCPOA is on ice.”
But other officials concede that Iran is not stockpiling any uranium enriched beyond 60%, well short of weapons grade, and also doubt Iran’s other technical capacities to build nuclear weapons.
Getting a bomb’s worth of 90% uranium is no small task, even before trying to make it into a deliverable weapon. Iran’s weapons development capabilities would be in doubt even if they were stockpiling uranium, which again they aren’t.
Pentagon officials still maintain that getting back into a deal with Iran is preferable to not having one.