Eli Lake at Bloomberg View reports that President Obama’s administration has confirmed that Iran is “two to three months” away from developing a nuclear weapon, contradicting the White House’s rebuttal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Iran is months away from the breakout.
“Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” writes Lake. “When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: ‘Oh quite some time.’ He added: ‘They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the… R&D work. If you put that together it’s very, very little time to go forward. That’s the 2-3 months.'”
Lake says this assessment was confirmed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The true Iranian breakout window is, and always has been, three months or less.
The truth actually started trickling out a year ago, when the Administration began acting as if it had never spread the false one-year estimate to begin with. Lake recalls Secretary of State John Kerry casually telling a Senate panel, “I think it is fair to say, I think it is public knowledge today, that we are operating with a time period for a so-called breakout of about two months.”
President Obama repeatedly stated the breakout window needed to be 12 months or longer as a product of the nuclear deal. The Administration is trying to spin its deception away by essentially saying it had several breakout period estimates to choose from, with the “breakout” concept defined in a variety of ways.
Estimating Iran’s breakout window is a difficult task, involving many variables hidden by the duplicitous Iranians, which is an excellent reason not to pretend they are responsible statesmen who can be trusted to honor a complex arms-control agreement. Lake mentions that House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair Devin Nunes is exasperated by his team’s inability to “confirm any of their numbers” or “make sense of what they are referencing” when they try to evaluate the White House’s claims of a one-year breakout window resulting from its deal.
Nothing this administration has done with respect to Iran grants a shred of credibility to their claims today; they have established a pattern of recklessness and deceit.