said Iran could be 90 percent of the way to a nuclear weapon by the middle of next year, contributing to a timetable oft repeated by Western leaders while seeking a “red line” for Iran from them. In January of this year, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS News’ 60 Minutes that Iran was about a year from producing a bomb (January 2013, plus “one to two years” to put in a deliverable vehicle)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
In a November 2011 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said Iran could be less than a year from getting to the point of no return (about election time this year).
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, one of the federal government’s sixteen (now seventeen) intelligence agencies, told Congress in April 2010 that Iran was a year away from a bomb (2011), with another three to five for the “deliverable vehicle” (2013 to 2015). After hiccups in Iran’s nuclear program that year, an Israeli minister placed Iran’s nuclear bomb at three years away (2014).
In 2005, a U.S. intelligence review placed Iran ten years away from a nuclear bomb, or 2015, roughly matching Panetta’s timetable for complete weaponization, while some then claimed a nuclear Iran was only months away. The assessment of ten years doubled the previous estimate of five years (about 2010 or 2011). The five year timetable for Iran producing a nuclear weapon had been around for some time, floated as early as January 1995, placing a nuclear Iran in the year 2000, when the CIA actually told President Clinton maybe Iran has a nuke already. Prior to that, the timetable had been ten years.