The Undimmed Danger of Iran's Nuclear Program - Editorial
Iran has taken two more steps toward producing a nuclear weapon. According to a report released Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has begun to use a new, more advanced centrifuge to enrich uranium, which could allow it to produce bomb-grade material in a much shorter time. It also has begun installing centrifuges in a facility dug into a mountain near the city of Qom, which could be nearly invulnerable to air attack. Iranian officials say those centrifuges will be used to triple the production of uranium enriched to 20%, creating a stockpile for which Tehran has no plausible legitimate use.
The report underlines the fact that the danger that Iran will become a nuclear power is growing, not diminishing. The administration deserves credit for the diplomatic effort that produced stricter sanctions. But the grim reality is that Iran's leaders have not been deterred from their goal of producing a weapon, and the project is making steady progress. Iran's rate of enrichment is nearly double what it was in 2009.
The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that, should Iran decide on a "breakout" strategy of rapidly producing the highly enriched uranium for a weapon, it could do so in as little as 62 days - and that by the end of next year that timeline could fall to 12 days, making it possible to produce the core material for a bomb between visits by international inspectors. (Washington Post)