Skip to comments.IAEA: Iran 3-8 years from atomic weapons
Posted on 05/24/2007 9:49:03 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
LUXEMBOURG - The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday he agreed with CIA estimates that Iran was three to eight years from being able to make nuclear weapons and he urged the U.S. and other powers to pursue talks with the Islamic country.
The best way to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear arms is "through a comprehensive dialogue," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told a news conference in Luxembourg. "One way to do that, rather than to continue the rhetoric, is to ... sit down together."
On Wednesday, the IAEA reported that Iran's uranium enrichment program was expanding in defiance of U.N. demands that it be suspended, findings that could lead to new sanctions against the country.
The report also warned that the IAEA's knowledge of those activities was shrinking.
"We are moving toward Iran building (nuclear) capacity and knowledge, without (the IAEA) in a position to verify the nature or scope of that program," ElBaradei said.
ElBaradei would not offer his own view of when Iran would be able to produce nuclear weapons. But he added, "I tend to agree with (CIA estimates) that even if Iran wanted to go to nuclear weapons it would not be before the end of this decade or sometime in the middle of the next" three to eight years.
Iran insists it has no intention of pursuing nuclear weapons as the U.S. and its allies fear saying its program is only for producing an alternative source of energy.
Pushed by the United States, France and Britain, the U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions twice against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce both fuel for a reactor and the material for a nuclear warhead.
ElBaradei said the United States should take "inspiration" from negotiations that have recently defused the crisis over North Korea's nuclear activities even though the North has yet to fulfill its pledge to scrap its weapons program.
ElBaradei attended a conference of about 60 nuclear arms technology experts from a dozen nations, including the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and Sweden.
In an opening address, ElBaradei said the U.N. needs a far more "agile and systematic approach for responding to cases of (nuclear) proliferation."
He said the acquisition of nuclear arms technology by India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea showed the current shortcomings.
Monitoring compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty must be "drastically reformed," he said, adding that he will propose a set of changes in the next few weeks.
One idea is the creation of an international nuclear "fuel bank," which would eliminate any reason for countries seeking a peaceful nuclear program to enrich uranium themselves.
The emphasis on containing enrichment has gained prominence because of the concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions. The IAEA started investigating Iran's program after revelations that the country for nearly two decades had been clandestinely developing enrichment and other nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons.
Associated Press writer George Jahn contributed to this report from Vienna, Austria.
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei gestures as he attends the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe in Luxembourg, Thursday, May 24, 2007. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
fyi for the ‘When does Iran go nukular?’ pool crowd.
I might believe it's 3-8 years before something is done about Iran, though.
I heard on Lars show yesterday, they have over 2,000 centerfuges enriching uranium. Sounds like that are closer....
Bullcrap. 2-3 inmho. Forget the 5-8. Two years, maybe three.
If you take this title and plug it in the FR search engine and check out the results,, there are threads saying 2-3 years ago from 2 and 3 years ago. ;-)
I’m sure Ahmabadpatootiepie will let us know when it’s soup... if he doesn’t get tossed out of office before then.
If you take these estimates & adjust them based on the IAEA’s & CIA’s track record with estimate accuracy, that translates into Iran actually being anywhere from ~6 months to ~20 years away. Not extremely useful for decision-making.
I'm leaning towards 1 to 2 years myself. Don't forget when we built the first atomic weapons it took us 5 years from scratch. We did not have an ample supply of nuclear enrichment facilities, reactors, scientists skilled in this field or anything else. Iran is building its nukes with the help of Russkie expertise and equipment. I find it hard to imagine that they don't have a weapon at the moment.
Umm. Yeah Sure.
Three to eight? Then probably we won’t have to do anything for maybe seven and a half years.
Now, what is the chance we’ll be any more willing to do anything about it seven years from now, if we aren’t willing to do anything now?
Unless they have a plan to bring down the Tehran government, they are whistling past the graveyard. Tragedy is headed our way, and we are deer staring into the headlights.
3-8 years from nukes. That would be 3-8 years since nukes and 11 years since first test.
Yep, you sure got us back for that dropping all those enchiladas on Pearl harbor.
...and engage in... rhetoric?
Whatever you hear from the IAEA, the truth is worse.
No, we didn't destroy New Mexico's will to fight, we destroyed Japan's will to fight!
Very fitting that a man named "Mohamad" would suggest that negotiating with Ahmadinejad is worthwhile!
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed El Baradei arrives at the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe in Luxembourg May 24, 2007. (Thierry Roge/Reuters)