Thursday, September 27, 2012

Iran & Israel: The Timing of the Attack

Today we probably learned the outer limits of the timing of an Israeli  attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities during a speech to the UN by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Israeli red line?

He held up a diagram of a bomb with a spluttering fuse, and with a red marker, drew a line where  he thought the red line should be:


The prime minister displayed a "diagram" showing a crudely drawn sketch of a bomb, divided into sections representing the three stages of uranium enrichment. Using a marker, Netanyahu drew a red line before the end of the second stage. 

"Red lines don't lead to war, red lines prevent war," he said. "Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran." 

Netanyahu warned that it would be a "dangerous assumption" to think Iran could be deterred like the former Soviet Union. 

"Imagine their long-range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs -- who among you would feel safe in the Middle East?" he said. 

He then went on to discuss the timing of such a red line being reached by Iran, concluding that it could be “as early as next summer”:

Near the end of his speech, Netanyahu held up a placard showing a cartoon-like bomb that divided Iran’s efforts into three stages. He said that Iran has completed the first stage, developing sufficient low-enriched uranium, and that it is nearing completion of the second stage, the further enrichment of the uranium to weapons grade.

He said that stage could be completed as soon as next summer and that the third stage, preparing an actual weapon, could then be accomplished within “a few months, possibly a few weeks.” He said the effort to build a detonator for the highly enriched uranium would be relatively simple and easily concealed.

Drawing a bright red line across the picture with a marker, he said that Iran must be stopped before it completes the second stage.

So Israel has put the world – and Iran – on notice of one possible red line, and stated that Iran must be stopped before it completes the second stage.

And right now the expected timing for that is by early summer next year.

If news breaks out that Iran has upped the pace of its enrichment of uranium, this window could shorten.

Of course, the Israeli PM did not rule out Israel striking any time sooner than early next summer.

1 comment :

  1. The figures from Reuters:

    Iran, Netanyahu said, was well into what he defined as the second stage of enrichment - 20 percent purification - and predicted it would complete it by "next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates."

    According to an August report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has stockpiled 91.4 kg (201.5 pounds) of the 20 percent material.

    Some experts say Iran would need 200 to 250 kg (440 to 550 pounds) of such material for a weapon. Other experts suggest less might do it. Iran could potentially reach that threshold soon by producing roughly 15 kg (33 pounds) a month, a rate that could be speeded up if it activates new enrichment centrifuges.

    According to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, around 25 kg (55.1 pounds) of uranium enriched to a 90 percent purity level would be needed for a single nuclear weapon.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting; come again! Let us reason together ...

Random posts from my blog - please refresh page for more: