US official: Iran can produce fissile material for a nuclear bomb in about 12 days

(CNN) — US Under Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs Colin Kahl said Tuesday that Iran can currently “produce enough fissile material for one nuclear bomb in about 12 days.”

“Iran’s nuclear progress since we left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been remarkable,” Kahl added, during a hearing in the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

He continued, “Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal, it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce fissile material for one nuclear bomb, and now it will take about 12 days.”

The time estimate provided by the US official is the most specific timing provided by the US administration recently in the so-called “breakout time” for Iran, which is the amount of time it will need to produce enough fissile material to make a bomb.

The Joe Biden administration has repeatedly warned that the penetration time has dwindled to weeks.

Kahl said that while the US administration still wants to “solve this problem diplomatically and re-impose restrictions on its nuclear program, that’s better than other options,” but the Iran nuclear deal is “on hold” in part because “Iran’s behavior has changed since then, at least in terms of its support.” Russia is in the Ukraine war, so I don’t think we’re any closer to reviving the deal.”

It is noteworthy that the talks aimed at reviving the Iranian nuclear agreement, from which the United States withdrew under the Donald Trump administration, have been stalled for a month, and the Biden administration said that the agreement is “not on the agenda,” in the words of US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

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