Has Iran Become a De Facto Nuclear State?

March 21, 2024
Avner Cohen

The following is an excerpt from Haaretz.

In a televised interview in Tehran on February 12, Ali Akbar Salehi – maybe the most senior Iranian official to combine knowledge and authority in nuclear physics and diplomacy – declared that “we [Iran] have crossed all the thresholds of nuclear science and technology.”

Salehi, a former foreign minister and ex-head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, used a metaphor to explain what he meant. “Here’s an example: Imagine what a car needs; it needs a chassis, an engine, a steering wheel, a gearbox,” he said. “You’re asking if we’ve made the gearbox; I say yes. Have we made the engine? Yes, but each [component] serves its own purpose.”

Salehi appeared to imply, but without saying it explicitly, that Iran now has all the components of a nuclear weapon. Indeed, the difference between a bomb as a finished product and a bomb as a collection of all its components has virtually no practical significance – the transformation from the disassembled to the assembled is a technical matter that could be done within days or perhaps even hours if the technical teams are sufficiently skilled and well trained. One should keep in mind that today’s state of the art does not require a full nuclear test to verify and assure the bomb’s technical reliability and yield.

Continue reading at Haaretz.

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