Think tank: Iran was closer to nukes than we thought

Mossad documents and satellite photos shed new light on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran, Iran. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran, Iran.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran was closer to developing nuclear weapons than previously thought, according to a think tank report issued late Tuesday.
A report by the Institute for Science and International Security said that combining new information produced by the Mossad during its January raid on a Tehran warehouse along with satellite imagery “conclusively shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development.”
While the focus of the report is Iran’s activities up until 2003, the premise of the report and of the documents which the Mossad appropriated from a site in Tehran (which had not been disclosed to the IAEA) is that the tests performed mean Iran could be capable of building a weapon faster than previously thought.
There are unending debates about whether the Islamic Republic is currently around 12 months or closer to six months from being able to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to do so.
Iran has already overcome some of the obstacles to building a bomb which experts thought it had not yet overcome, based on the new report. This would shorten the countdown number.
Moreover, the report implies that based on photos from the Mossad appropriated documents, Iran has not accounted for complex equipment that would be used for the process of developing a nuclear weapon – meaning the IAEA should be confronting Tehran about where and whether it is hiding it.  
The report, authored by the think tank’s director David Albright, by former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen and other top experts, said,  “The additional evidence specifically mentions explosions and radioactivity at the Parchin site, and this information far more vividly establishes Iran’s nuclear weapons-related activities there.”
The report said that the Mossad-obtained “nuclear archive shows that Iran conducted at Parchin more high explosive tests related to nuclear weapons development than previously thought…this work appears to have involved more than what the IAEA called feasibility and scientific studies,” as the IAEA asserted in a December 2015 report.
In addition, “the information highlights dual-use, controlled equipment used at the site, such as a flash x-ray system utilizing a Marx generator and a variety of neutron measurement equipment, with electronics, designed to monitor high speed, explosively driven tests of a neutron source commonly used in a nuclear weapon.”


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