US Envoy: Iran Could Build Bomb in Weeks If It Chooses To

US falsely claims Iran has enough uranium

In a new interview Tuesday, US envoy Robert Malley continued to play up the myth of Iran imminently being nuclear armed, claiming to be “alarmed” by the progress made in enrichment by the Iranians.

Malley then went down the always-incorrect, familiar road, claiming Iran could build a bomb within weeks “if it so chooses.” He added that they already have enough uranium.

There are occasions of being wrong, and those of being deliberately misleading, and this could well be the second half. The narrative has enormous holes.

To make a nuclear weapon, Iran would need 90% enriched uranium, weapons-grade. The estimates are for around 15 kg of such uranium per weapon, and Iran has not a single gram, never having even attempted to enrich to such levels.

That makes sense because, to quote Malley, Iran has never chosen to try. Iran’s government has forbidden the production of nuclear arms and subsequently forbids going down this road.

The 15 kg limit is the “breakout” time, which is built on the assumption that Iran could enrich whatever it’s got to 90%+ levels, even though this is not a trivial process.

“If it so chooses” is the cheap cop-out for these accusations, designed to keep fear around Iran’s capabilities without considering if those capabilities exist or are reasonable.

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.