When Will Iran Get a Nuclear Weapon?

Between 2000 and 2015 according to various estimates over the years


ahmadinejad looks at things
Office of the Iranian President

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 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)

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.

NEXT: No Demonstration Preceded the Benghazi Attack, Get Ready for a Trade War With China, Chicago Public School Teachers Love Private Schools: P.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The day after tomorrow.

  2. Mutually assured destruction has created a very stable foreign policy environment between nuclear powers. They don’t go to war with one another– only by proxy.

    I don’t think Iranians are any crazier than Americans, Russians, Chinese, or Pakistanis, so Iran getting a nuclear weapon may, ironically, be a good thing for international peace.

    Then again, it only takes one crazy country to fuck up this game and start world war 3, so who knows.

    1. But the question, joe, is how short are you?

      Because no one gives a shit what you have to say on this subject.

      1. Whereas everyone is enamored by your content-free thread shitting, right?

        1. Maybe we should give nukes to Hugo Chavez and ACORN, dipshit.

        2. Oh joe, you’re the shittiest thread shitter of them all. Because you don’t even realize what you are. Pointless.

  3. “I don’t think Iranians are any crazier than Americans, Russians, Chinese, or Pakistanis”

    I’ve met plenty. They’re really not.

    Unfortunately, if someone “presses the button” they’re probably not going to take a vote first.

    1. I don’t think they’d take a vote before launching in any state with a nuclear arsenal.

    2. The average Iranian in the street? Of course not.

      The religious fanatics that (apparently!) run their government and populate their various militaries? I wouldn’t bet on it.

      1. I think the Iranian leadership is about as sincere in their religious frevor as the USSR was in their Marxism. That is, not at all. They just act like religious fanatics for the power.

        1. Yeah, it’s one thing to brainwash some guy into blowing himself up. It’s another to do something that guarantees you getting blown up

          1. Exactly.

      2. They do throw acid on women, so I’m leaning towards, yes, they would push the button.

        1. I’ve thrown acid at women and they loved it. Granted it was at a dead show but still.

        2. Who is the “they” in this statement? Because different people in different groups, even with similar goals, can act COMPLETELY different in pursuit of those goals.

          And I wouldn’t say that throwing acid on someone is equivalent to condemning yourself to nuclear death at worst, and horrible invasion and government dissolution at best. Because those are the only ways we, or NATO for that matter, would respond to an Iranian nuclear strike.

      3. I think you overestimate their fanatacism versus their power-hungry nature. They are first and foremost power-mongers who want to stay on top. Launching a nuclear weapon, even once, would be pissing away all the control they accumulated, as well as their lives.

        Remember, even Bin-Laden and other top Al-Qaeda never made suicide strikes themselves. They always foisted that responsibility onto others.

  4. For Iran’s sake, I hope it’s soon.

    1. I think Ahmadenijad’s primary strategy to maintain power is to stoke the xenophobic fears of the Iranian people. He presents their nuclear program as vital to the survival of the Iranian state.

      Perhaps when the bomb is built, and all the other problems in Iran remain, the Iranian people will see through his charade.

      1. John H. Galt, joe, go away.

      2. Ahmadinejad doesn’t even hold the real power there. That’s why I laugh whenever someone calls him “the next Hitler”

        1. Even if he was, Hitler was only dangerous because he control of the world’s second largest industrial base and the world’s largest army. Iran is a rounding error on both accounts.

  5. So when are they all going to present some evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program? At least with the last WMD scare we got the US Secretary of State and CIA Director show in public that they were ignorant talking heads. Remember the photos of the Biological Weapons trailers.

    1. At least with the last WMD scare we got the US Secretary of State and CIA Director show in public that they were ignorant talking heads.

      Which is exactly why they won’t be making that mistake again.

      Now, the mistake of invading a country that poses no threat to us, THAT mistake will be made as many times as it takes to keep the Obamneys of the nation employed indefinitely.

  6. Derider… I’m with you.

    Peace can be guaranteed once Iran Tests it’s first Missile with a Nuclear warhead in it. NO BODY WILL ATTACK them.

    The USA, however, will embargo them to DEATH like they did CUBA and NORTH KOREA. Had the USA not embargo’d these countries, they’d be fine and we’d still be in peace with BOTH.

    India and Pakistan haven’t had a SINGLE incident since both went NUCLEAR.

    On that Note, IRAN deserves all the crap they are getting from Israel and the USA. Ahmadenijad’s rhetoric and Jew-bashing and Holocaust denying and “Israel needs to be wiped off the map” comments is the reason why ISRAEL wants to fly over there and destroy their Nuclear production sites.

    They may not be crazier than USA, Russia, North Korea…But they STUPID to have this man go on TV and say such nonsense. There would be no SANCTIONs or investigations against IRAN had that little man kept his mouth SHUT.

  7. When will I get a nuclear weapon? Besides the ICBM I already have… in my pants!

  8. Please state the decimal representation of the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter to as many digits as you can recall.

    1. Sorry, wrong thread. Don’t attempt to answer, as it may bring down the servers.

  9. Jesus, someone give them the bomb already so we can move on.

  10. I really wish the US would mind its own business for a change!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.