WASHINGTON – The Islamic Republic of Iran could produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks from the "time of an Iranian decision," and after that, it would only take "several more months" to produce an actual nuclear weapon, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Thursday.
Testifying at the House Appropriations Committee to discuss the Pentagon budget request for 2024 alongside Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Milley said that Iran threatens to push the Middle East into regional instability by continuing its support to terrorists and proxy forces.
“The United States remains committed as a matter of policy that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon.”Mark Milley
“But the United States remains committed as a matter of policy that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon,” he told the House panel. He went on to say that the US military has developed “multiple options for our national leadership to consider if or when Iran ever decides to develop an actual nuclear weapon.”
Israel: Ongoing cooperation needed to stop Iran from going nuclear
Israel hosted the top US General earlier this month for discussions that it said included the need for cooperation on denying Iran nuclear weaponry.
"Ongoing cooperation is required in order to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon."Yoav Gallant
"Ongoing cooperation is required in order to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant's office quoted him as telling Milley.
Milley’s remarks comes a month after Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said at a House hearing that Iran could make enough fissile for one nuclear bomb in "about 12 days," down from the estimated one year it would have taken while the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was in effect.
"Because Iran's nuclear progress since we left the JCPOA has been remarkable,” he said. “Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb's worth of fissile material. Now it would take about 12 days," Kahl, the third-ranking Defense Department official, told lawmakers.
Reuters contributed to this report.