Top US general says Iran could build nuclear weapons within ‘few’ months

General Mark Milley during a press conference at the Pentagon on March 15, 2023.
Celal Gunes/Getty Images

  • General Mark Milley told lawmakers it would take “several” months for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.
  • The U.S. military commander-in-chief said the U.S. military had “developed multiple options” for potential responses.
  • Iran’s nuclear program has progressed rapidly since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, told lawmakers on Thursday that Iran could produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within two weeks, and that Tehran would not “be able to produce an actual nuclear weapon.” It will take only a few more months,” he said.

“But the United States remains committed, as a matter of policy, that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon,” Milley said at a House Appropriations Committee hearing, noting that the U.S. military is “leading our nation.” We have developed multiple options for people to consider,” he stressed. If or when Iran decides to develop an actual nuclear weapon.”

By the time then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the JCPOA) in May 2018, Iran had about a year to develop a nuclear weapon. bottom. That timeline has been significantly shortened since then, and tensions between Tehran and Washington have reached historic heights in the process.

Millie’s comments on Thursday were based on remarks by Undersecretary of Defense Colin Carr, who told a House Armed Services Committee hearing last month that “Iran’s nuclear program since leaving the JCPOA has been impressive.” .

“Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce enough fissile material for one bomb,” Karl said. “Now it will take about 12 days.”

UN inspectors recently discovered that Tehran has enriched uranium by 84%. This is close to 90% of his weapon grade level. Iran has repeatedly claimed its nuclear program is peaceful, but skepticism is widespread in the West.

When President Joe Biden first entered the White House, restoring the JCPOA agreement was a top foreign policy priority. But negotiations to revive it fell apart, and the administration has since suggested that efforts to keep the deal “not on our agenda”. Iran’s brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations has not solved the problem.

During a trip to the Middle East last July, Mr. Biden said the United States would use force as a “last resort” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

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