Iran Will Have Nuclear Warhead Material Ready by End of 2020, US Official Reportedly Warns
With the U.S. slapping new sanctions on Iran, the Trump administration is issuing a warning that Iran could have the material it needs for a nuclear weapon by the end of this year.
“Iran is clearly doing everything it can to keep in existence a virtual turnkey capability to get back into the weaponization business at a moment’s notice should it choose to do so,” a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition his name not be used, told Reuters.
“Because of Iran’s provocative nuclear escalation, it could have sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this year,” the official said.
The official did not pinpoint a specific source for the information but said it included information from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The official also noted that Iran and North Korea have resumed work on a new weapon.
“Iran and North Korea have resumed cooperation on a long-range missile project, including the transfer of critical parts,” he said.
The U.S. sanctions, announced Monday, target those involved in conventional as well as nuclear weapons, according to a news release from the Department of State.
Targets will include Iranian arms organizations as well as senior officials, researchers and those involved in the procurement network for Iran’s missile program.
The U.S. is acting because Iran has shown no willingness to live in peace, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement posted on the Department of State’s website.
“The Trump Administration has always understood that the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East comes from Islamic Republic of Iran, whose violent efforts to spread revolution have killed thousands and upended the lives of millions of innocent people. History shows appeasement only emboldens such regimes,” Pompeo said, calling Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism.”
Pompeo noted that the United Nations sanctions against Iran have returned due to the Islamic nation’s failure to conform to the terms of the Iran nuclear deal.
“The 2015 nuclear deal did not induce Iran to join ‘the community of nations’ as promised. Instead, the mullahs took their newfound wealth and used it to foment death and destruction from Yemen to Iraq to Lebanon and Syria — a predictable outcome,” he said.
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” Pompeo added.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said the U.S. “faces defeat” in trying to rein in Iran, according to the BBC.
“America is approaching a certain defeat in its sanctions move… It faced defeat and a negative response from the international community,” he said.
Iran’s foreign ministry also issued a warning.
“Iran emphasizes that if the US, directly or with the co-operation of a number of its allies, makes any move in line with these threats, it will face a serious reaction and should account for all its dangerous consequences,” he said in a statement.
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