Friday, August 21, 2009

When Will Iran Get Nuclear Weapons? A Guide on Figuring that Out

By Barry Rubin

Joshua Pollack is a serious analyst guy. He actually-gasp!--reads documents, keeps an open mind, and constantly rethinks his views to assure maximum accuracy. There are days, in our benighted era, where these seem to be lost arts like handmade lace and building stagecoaches.

And so when he writes a brief guide to understanding the timeline of Iran getting nuclear weapons, it's worth reading. Briefly, Pollack explains that the estimated dates change because of improved intelligence and developments in Iran's program. It's also important to define terms, at what point does one conclude Tehran has the nukes.

One of the most interesting points shows that efforts to make it harder for Iran to succeed have had a real impact. Precisely because the regime has to work covertly, that slows down the process. Another factor is that Iran still cannot make all the equipment it needs and attempts to block Tehran from acquiring items have worked.

The best current date for Iran being a nuclear power is 2013. But before that, the program will be irreversible.

And by the way--this is coming from me--we are nowhere near the moment when Israel has to decide whether or not to attack Iran's facilities. Ignore everything you see to the contrary from people who don't know what they're talking about.

You can read his analysis here.

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