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Israeli expert: Iran likely to create material for nuclear bomb

Iran Materials 9 December 2011 17:55 (UTC +04:00)
Israeli expert on nuclear weapons development Uzi Eilam believes that Iran can make nuclear bomb in a few months.
Israeli expert: Iran likely to create material for nuclear bomb

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec 9 /Trend T.Isayev, D.Khatinoglu/

Israeli expert on nuclear weapons development Uzi Eilam believes that Iran can make nuclear bomb in a few months.

"It will be enough to possess few tens of kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium to create the necessary material for the bomb in a couple of months," Senior Research Fellow Uzi Eilam from the Institute for National Security Studies told Trend over the phone.

Iran has above 3,000 kg of 3.5-percent enriched uranium (uranium hexafluoride - UF6). Late in October, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said around 70 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched UF6 had been produced in Iran.

That can be used for reactor fuel, or - if further enriched - the fissile core of a weapon.

Iran says this country has plan to construct 20 nuclear power plants which needs uranium fuel (3.5-percent enriched) and also, Iran has a nuclear research plant in Tehran which works with 20-percent enriched nuclear fuel.

To make nuclear weapon of UF6 gas, it is necessary to enrich UF6 at least by 95 percent and change it to solid materials via especial technology.

Estimates on required time for Iran to make its first nuclear weapon in case of Iran's desire to produce the nuclear weapon differ.

Gary Samore, special adviser to President Barak Obama on nuclear non-proliferation issues, said in August 2010 that Iran needs a year to build a nuclear weapon.

Regarding the time required for Iran to build its first nuclear bomb in case it desires, Eilam mentioned several factors which could facilitate this process.

"One should be careful in addressing this question," he said.

According to Eilam, Iran should achieve 95 percent enrichment, which will take few months, and the country should have an advanced design of the weapon.

"If they have enough volumes enriched uranium, they will have to come up with a good design for the bomb," Eilam noted. "Then again, nobody knows how far they went in this field."

Regarding the probability and circumstances of testing a nuclear weapon, either in nature or by simulation via computer Eilam noted that "simulation is a good way to at least to get an idea of how effective the weapon is, but definitely it will not be enough".

The U.S., Israel and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

The Daily Guardian reported in Nov.14 that the Western intelligence agencies are believed to have tried to slow down Iran's nuclear program by supplying defective parts for centrifuges used for enriching uranium, while Israel and the U..S were reported to have been behind a computer worm called Stuxnet, which infected the operating systems at Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz last year and contributed to its temporary shutdown in November 2010.

Such efforts may have slowed down Iran's nuclear progress.

Israeli expert said if to look at the overall picture of what's going on in Iran, there are many mysterious things happening with country's nuclear program.

"Accidents do happen and some of them are intentional," Eilam stressed.

A while ago Iranian Atomic Energy Organization former head Ali Akbar Salehi said the Stuxnet virus has not affected main computers of the plant, but it infected some personal notebooks.

Nevertheless, commander of civil defense Gholam Reza Jalali accused Germany's Siemens Company of a virus attack on Iranian nuclear plants.

In this end, Eilam believes that to speak generally, any system can be harmed.

"It's not farfetched that people were saying Stuxnet penetrated the computers of the Iranian enrichment facilities. It could be done," noted Eilam.

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