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September 14, 2016 7:00 am

Israeli Nuclear Expert: Once JCPOA Expires, Iran Will Be Able to Produce Deliverable Nuclear Weapon Within Weeks (INTERVIEW)

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Iran's Natanz nuclear facility. Photo: Wikicommons.

Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Loopholes in the nuclear agreement reached last year between six world powers and Iran permit the Islamic Republic to go ahead with activities that will enable it to produce a deliverable nuclear weapon within weeks after the terms of the deal expire a decade from now, an Israeli nuclear expert told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Dr. Ephraim Asculai, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told The Algemeiner there were two key flaws in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inability to search Iran for undeclared nuclear facilities, activities and materials and the JCPOA’s disregard of two parts of what Asculai described as the “triad of manufacturing nuclear weapons.”

The triad, Asculai said, consists of fissile material, explosive mechanisms and weapon-delivery systems.

“The JCPOA deals only with the fissile material production,” Asculai said.

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And Iran, Asculai noted, would be able to conduct tests of explosive mechanisms and weapon-delivery systems without fissile material. “Iran can use natural uranium for developing explosive mechanisms and testing them,” he said. “These would be cold tests, because natural uranium will not produce a nuclear explosion. But everything can be tested. The same thing goes for the missile program and other delivery systems. So these will be ready once the fissile material is produced.”

Regarding Iran’s missile program, Asculai warned, “It is continuing strongly, and the Iranians are developing newer types of missiles and testing them.”

Asculai expressed sharp criticism of how world powers, and particularly the United States, conducted the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

“I think the US wanted the deal so badly, it gave up on almost everything,” he said. “This is going to resound for generations to come.”

The only hope to mitigate the situation, Asculai noted, would be a tougher stance taken by the next president once Barack Obama leaves the White House in January.

“I don’t think that the current president will pressure Iran on anything concerning the nuclear program,” Asculai said. “The next administration could, but at the moment there is no pressure. And there is no pressure from other countries in the world, because everyone is so happy to try and get some commercial benefit from the nuclear agreement.”

Asculai called on world powers to prepare for how to apply future pressure on Iran. “I think that if anything is to be done, it is to impress upon world powers that this thing is not over,” he stated. “And I think that there must be planning now for mutual action, and it doesn’t have to be military action. It can again be tough sanctions; it can be boycotts or embargoes. Many things can be done to pressure Iran to behave itself and to prove that it is behaving. This is not being done as of yet.”

In an article published on the INSS website earlier this week, Asculai wrote,

The euphoric greeting of the JCPOA by at least some world leaders eclipsed the fact that this joy may be short-lived. However, if the international community truly wishes to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear ambitions, the approach of the IAEA Board of Governors to the issue should change. At the very least, Iran should be condemned for its past activities in the nuclear realm.

He continued:

The present atmosphere of focusing only on having avoided the nuclear crisis is not conducive to almost any preventive action regarding the potential scenario of an Iranian breakout after 10-15 years. Under these circumstances, when the countdown ends we will most likely find ourselves facing a nuclear Iran.

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