Blinken Misleadingly Claims Iran Weeks From Having Bomb Material

Iran FM reiterates no intention of seeking nukes

Dimming hope for new diplomacy, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken accused Iran of reaching enough material for an atomic bomb in a matter of weeks “if Tehran further violates restrictions it agreed to under the 2015 nuclear deal.”

This is broadly incorrect and wildly misleading. The accusation is based, superficially, on the idea that Iran has a substantial stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and they are figuring at what level that stockpile could be enough for a single bomb.

Yet weapons grade uranium is 90% or higher enriched. Iran is presently enriching mostly to 3.5% with some to 20%. They have never attempted to go meaningfully higher than 20%, and further enrichment, though conceivably possible, is an untested road for them.

Even then, Iran would have to convert the uranium that it doesn’t really have into a single bomb, a very non-trivial process. At this point, the allegations fall apart entirely, because if Iran did all of this, and conducted a test explosion to prove it had a weapon, they’d use up all of their uranium in the test, and would be back to square one on making usable weapons.

This makes the whole allegation unrealistic, but gave Iranian FM Javad Zarif the chance to reject the accusation, and reiterate that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon in the first place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.