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Limits on Iran’s nuclear program are needed more than ever 

Two recent IAEA reports indicate Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to produce material for a nuclear weapon in mere weeks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) meets with head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi (R) in Tehran on March 5, 2022.

Two May 30 reports on Iran’s nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) paint a dire picture. Iran has now produced over 43 kilograms of 60% highly enriched uranium (HEU). This is enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon if further enriched to 90%, a process that could take just a couple of weeks. Iran’s “breakout” time is thus below the margin of error for timely detection.  

While it would take Iran several more months to fashion the HEU into a crude weapon, and perhaps two years to mount it on a missile, fissile material production is typically considered to be the long pole in making nuclear weapons — both the most visible and the most time-consuming step. For Iran, producing weapons-grade HEU is now the shortest pole.  

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