By Matt Drake 12.11, 24 Nov 2018 UPDATED 20.11, 24 Nov 2018
IRAN could have a nuclear weapon within a matter of months if the country pulls out of the 2015 deal, according to shocking claims made by Israeli intelligence agents.
A secret Iranian archive seized by Israeli agents earlier this year suggests the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme was more advanced than the West had thought, according to a nuclear expert who examined the documents.
It suggests if Iran pulls out the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, that Donald Trump has abandoned, it could produce a bomb in a matter of months, according to physicist David Albright from Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, DC.
Mr Alrbight told Foreign Policy: “The archive is littered with new stuff about the Iranian nuclear weapons programme.
“It’s unbelievable how much is in there.”
ADVANCED: Iran’s programme is said to be more advanced than first thought (Pic: GETTY)
But Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, Barbara Slavin, said the real concern is Donald Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal.
Tehran’s controversial nuke agreement with the US saw the Islamic Republic agree to give up nukes.
It saw the US agree to waive tough economic sanctions under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump axed the deal in May before reimposing sanctions, leading to fears Iran could restart its programme.
Ms Slavin told Daily Star Online: “The documents Israel discovered related to Iran’s nuclear program revealed no information about an ongoing weapons program, only that Iran had made substantial progress in that direction in the past.
“If anything, these findings only reinforced the rationale behind the 2015 nuclear deal and the folly of the Trump administration in walking out of the deal without a replacement in hand.”
Iran would still need to produce weapons-grade uranium.
But Mr Albright added that if it restarts its centrifuges it could have enough in about seven to 12 months.
The physicist continued: “The US was issuing statements that it would take a year at least, perhaps two years, to build a deliverable weapon. The information in the archive makes it clear they could have done it a lot quicker.”
The archive is over 100,000 pages long and is from 1999 to 2003, a decade before negotiations on a nuclear deal began.
It reveals that Washington underestimated how close Iran was to making a nuke.
But Ms Slavin believes Iran will keep in compliance with the deal and it is only Trump trying to wreck it.
“Fortunately, Iran appears willing to remain in compliance with the agreement and accept European, Russian and Chinese efforts to maintain a minimum of trade.
“Iran’s hope is that Donald Trump will be a one-term president and that his successor will return to the deal or seek new negotiations on a more realistic basis.”