Iran has enough fissile material to produce three nuclear warheads, an Israeli official said Monday, according to a report published by Israel Hayom.
The news came as the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors began a week-long conference in Vienna to decide whether or not to issue a resolution against Iran. If that takes place, it would be the first such move in two and a half years.
IAEA Director Rafael Grossi told the Board of Governors on Monday there was no longer any possibility of stopping Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.
“Having a significant quantity [of highly-enriched uranium] does not mean having a bomb, but … this idea of crossing the line, it’s going to happen,” Grossi said.
Iran International has reported that the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have already been discussing a resolution against Iran. China and Russia, however, are warning such a move could upset the talks aimed at resurrecting the moribund JCPOA nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran and world powers.
Those talks have been limping along off and on in Vienna for more than a year. Officials involved in the negotiations have been largely pessimistic about the prospect of a successful conclusion.
Iran, on the other hand, is losing no time in its drive to increase its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium and creep closer to achieving an atomic weapon.
Last weekend Grossi paid a swift visit to Jerusalem, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to discuss Iran’s nuclear efforts.
Grossi did not announce the visit — which lasted less than a day — prior to his arrival, nor did he offer any statement following the meeting.
According to the Israeli prime minister’s office, Bennett expressed Israel’s “deep concern” regarding Iran’s continued progress toward achieving nuclear weapons while deceiving the international community by using false information and lies.
Bennett emphasized the “urgent need” to mobilize the international community to take action against Iran, “using all means” in order to prevent the mullahs from achieving nuclear weapons.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to annihilate the Jewish State.
Speaking to reporters this week, the Israeli official said information about Iran’s galloping progress in uranium enrichment is found in one of the two reports presented by Grossi to the IAEA Board of Governors.
“The report examined the original nuclear agreement. It shows a disturbing trend of uranium enrichment in large quantities, at high levels of 60 percent and 20 percent percent, and in large quantities.
“The total enriched material is defined as 3-SQ, which means a quantity sufficient for three nuclear bombs,” the Israeli official said.
Uranium enriched to 60 percent purity has only one short step to go before reaching the 90 percent level needed for production of an atomic bomb.
Thus far, Iran has not taken that step — as far as anyone knows. But Iran has not responded to questions posed by the IAEA, and as the Israeli official said, “It can’t do it without blatantly lying and without being caught.”
If, as expected, the IAEA moves ahead with its resolution, it could result in censure of the Islamic Republic by the UN Security Council — but that is by no means guaranteed. Iran might even do an about-face and agree to the nuclear deal being discussed in Vienna.
But that’s very unlikely.
Bennett stressed to Grossi the importance of the IAEA Board of Governors delivering a “clear and unequivocal message” to Iran in its upcoming decision this week.
But the prime minister also made it clear that while Israel prefers diplomacy in order to deny Iran the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, it reserves the right to self-defense and to action against Iran in order to block its nuclear program should the international community not succeed in the relevant time frame.