Iran may be getting close to having enough nuclear material to make a single bomb if it chooses to do so. Although experts estimate it would still take Iran roughly a year to actually build a bomb (which it has long said it does not want to do), it’s still a worrying development.
It’s also a predictable one — in fact, it’s what many experts warned was likely to happen if President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency — the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog — wrote in a confidential report seen by the Associated Press that Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, from 820 pounds last November to 2,250 pounds (just over a ton) in February. That confirms previous statements by the organization earlier this year.
To make a weapon, the Arms Control Association estimates Iran would need more than 2,300 pounds of uranium enriched to over 90 percent purity. That’s the level required for weapons-grade uranium. Based on the IAEA’s report, Iran’s stockpile is enriched to under 5 percent — far away from that level.