For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses “the red line” to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false.
U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Defense Science Board Report
A recently published Defense Department study “Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies” (January 2014), by the blue ribbon Defense Science Board, concludes the following:
“Closing the nation’s global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority. It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don’t normally do well without a crisis. …monitoring for proliferation… presents challenges for which current solutions are either inadequate, or more often, do not exist. Among these challenges are… Small inventories of weapons and materials…. Small nuclear enterprises designed to produce, store, and deploy only a small number of weapons…Undeclared facilities and/or covert operations, such as testing below detection thresholds, or acquisition of materials or weapons through theft or purchase… Use of non‐traditional technologies…”
These intelligence blind-spots align perfectly with U.S. monitoring gaps against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The Defense Science Board Report is tantamount to an admission that Iran probably already has the bomb.
Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program
Like the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is clandestine, mostly underground, mostly inaccessible to international inspections, and impenetrable to U.S. national technical means. Most of what we know about Iran’s nuclear program has been disclosed voluntarily by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The U.S. did not even suspect Iran was working on the bomb until 2002, after the program was in operation for some 15 years.
We should know from our own experience that Iran probably already has the bomb. During its World War II Manhattan Project, when nuclear weapons were only a theoretical possibility, and working with 1940s era technology, the U.S. built two atomic bombs of radically different design that both worked perfectly — in a mere three years.
Iran, with access to copious unclassified information on nuclear weapon designs, working with 21st Century technology, helped by the A.Q. Khan network, North Korea, Russia, and China, supposedly has been unable to build the bomb — after thirty years of trying. This is an implausibly optimistic assessment.
North Korea developed its first nuclear weapons in no more than 8 years.