Tag Archives: nuclear

Obama Kept Iran’s Short Breakout Time a Secret

Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: “Oh quite some time.” He added: “They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.”

Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.

Here is the puzzling thing: When Obama began his second term in 2013, he sang a different tune. He emphasized that Iran was more than a year away from a nuclear bomb, without mentioning that his intelligence community believed it was only two to three months away from making enough fuel for one, long considered the most challenging task in building a weapon. Today Obama emphasizes that Iran is only two to three months away from acquiring enough fuel for a bomb, creating a sense of urgency for his Iran agreement.

Back in 2013, when Congress was weighing new sanctions on Iran and Obama was pushing for more diplomacy, his interest was in tamping down that sense of urgency. On the eve of a visit to Israel, Obama told Israel’s Channel Two, “Right now, we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close.”

On Oct. 5 of that year, Obama contrasted the U.S. view of an Iranian breakout with that of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who at the time said Iran was only six months away from nuclear capability. Obama told the Associated Press, “Our assessment continues to be a year or more away. And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services.”

Ben Caspit, an Israeli journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor, reported last year that Israel’s breakout estimate was also two to three months away.

A year ago, after the nuclear talks started, Secretary of State John Kerry dropped the first hint about the still-classified Iran breakout estimate. He told a Senate panel, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.”

David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, told me administration officials appeared to be intentionally unspecific in 2013, when the talking points used the 12-months-plus timeline. “They weren’t clear at all about what this one-year estimate meant, but people like me who said let’s break it down to the constituent pieces in terms of time to build a bomb were rebuffed,” he said. Albright’s group released its own breakout timetable that focused solely on the production of highly enriched uranium, not the weapon itself. It concluded Iran was potentially less than a month away.

When USA Today asked a spokeswoman for the National Security Council about Albright’s estimate, she responded that the intelligence community maintained a number of estimates for how long Iran would take to produce enough material for a weapon.

“They have made it very hard for those of us saying, let’s just focus on weapons-grade uranium, there is this shorter period of time and not a year,” Albright told me. “If you just want a nuclear test device to blow up underground, I don’t think you need a year.”

This view is supported by a leaked document from the International Atomic Energy Agency, first published by the Associated Press in 2009. Albright’s group published excerpts from the IAEA assessment that concluded Iran “has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device based upon (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.”

Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst who is now an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution, told me that most of the technical estimates about an Iranian breakout were not nearly as precise as they are sometimes portrayed in the press. “The idea there is such a thing as a hard and fast formula for this is nonsense,” he said. “All the physicists come up with different answers depending on what inputs they use.”

In this way, Obama’s new, more alarmist figure of two to three months provides a key selling point for the framework reached this month in Switzerland. When Obama announced the preliminary agreement on April 2, he said one benefit was that if it were finalized, “even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb.”

Hence the frustration of Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “We’ve been researching their claim that a deal would lengthen the breakout time for Iran from two to three months to a year,” he told me of the administration. “We’re just trying to confirm any of their numbers and we can’t confirm or make sense of what they are referencing.”

Nunes should hurry. The Iranian nuclear deal is scheduled to breakout in less than three months.

Attack Iran Now – Russian Interference Leaves Israel No Choice

obama nukes

Jack Engelhard

The Obama Doctrine – scorn your friends, reward your enemies – has finally reaped the whirlwind, namely Russia and its pledge to provide Iran with an array of the most advanced “defensive” missiles on earth. This leaves Israel with no choice except to act BEFORE those missiles are deployed.

Israel must attack to remove those nukes before it’s too late.

If it was difficult to successfully strike Iran’s nuclear facilities today, tomorrow will be near impossible. So the scientific experts tell us.

It’s been explained that the S-300 Surface-to-Air Missile System would provide Iran with an impenetrable shield.

If anything, Russia’s move has clarified the situation. Israel’s duty to defend itself has never been more urgent and an attack scaled to wipe out Iran’s nuclear emplacements would likewise be a favor to any number of Sunni states that tremble from Iran’s Shiite encroachments throughout the Arab world.

Read this for one newsman’s heroic efforts to stop a worldwide caliphate, reminding readers that “The Koran Has Arrived And It Has Come To Devour The Bible.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told Fox News’ Bret Baier that somebody better do something, quick, seeing Iran on the prowl throughout the Middle East and beyond:  “You’ve got to connect all these dots together. All these issues are areas of instability,” declared Abdullah in connection to Iran’s heavy footprints throughout the region.

He cited Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan and his own country as being at risk.

Abdullah did not directly call for help from the United States or Israel, but the hint was unmistakable.

On seeking a deal to stop or stall Iran’s nuclear program, America’s infantile negotiators, led by John Kerry were no match for the ayatollahs. These were children bargaining with grown men. The ayatollahs trifled with Obama’s “best and brightest” during the negotiations and scorned them as laughable losers after the negotiations.

legacy 1 (2)

The result was no deal at all. Iran gets to keep arming itself with no one to stop it from growing bolder.

Certainly the United States, under Obama, cannot be counted on to come to the rescue. Thus, a vacuum waiting to be filled.

Enter Vladimir Putin, who saw the perfect opening, an opening he’s been waiting for along the decades to replace America as the dominant world power in the Middle East. He can’t be blamed. Russia does what Russia does because it is Russia. But the United States has no excuse for being so lame.

Putin and the ayatollahs must be dancing at finding Obama and Kerry so easily duped,

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Putin to voice his displeasure. Apparently Netanyahu was assured that these missiles for Iran are weapons meant only for defense – which is terrible enough since the system could destroy (Israeli) jets trying to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But as noted in a recent column here, during the Cuban Missile Crisis Putin’s ancestor Nikita Khrushchev gave similar assurances to John F. Kennedy. No worries. Those missiles are only defensive. Until it turned out differently and the United States was ready to go to war – world war! – to get those Soviet arms removed from Cuba, be they defensive or offensive or both.

Israel finds itself in the same perilous spot as regards Iran. There is no choice but to take action now.

legacy 5

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. The new thriller from the New York-based novelist, The Bathsheba Deadline, a heroic editor’s singlehanded war on terror and against media bias. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: www.jackengelhard.com