Iran’s Recent, Irreversible Nuclear Advances

September 22, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Library Documents: 


David Albright and Sarah Burkhard

Author's Title: 

President, Research Associate


Institute for Science and International Security

Related Country: 

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • European Union

In many ways, Iran’s nuclear capabilities now greatly exceed their status in early 2016, when the JCPOA was implemented. Its breakout time, namely the time needed to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon or explosive device, is on order of one month, rivaling breakout timelines prior to the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) in late 2014. Although Iran would need more time to build a nuclear explosive devise or even longer to build a deliverable nuclear weapon, it has extensive experience in developing and manufacturing nuclear weapons and is ready to build its first one on short order.

With its multiple violations of the JCPOA, Iran has reached previously uncharted territory, accumulating important new knowledge, experience, and practice, representing a significant block of nuclear capability banned to Iran by this point in time under the JCPOA. These advances not only violate the JCPOA limits, but many are irreversible, threatening to collapse the JCPOA’s overall purpose of keeping Iran a certain timeframe away from being able to produce enough weapon grade uranium (WGU) for a nuclear weapon and assemble a nuclear weapon. The irreversible advances, which accelerate both Iran’s WGU production and weaponization capability, have occurred mainly in three areas: (1) advanced gas centrifuge production and operation, (2) highly enriched uranium (HEU) production, and (3) uranium metal production.


Read the rest of the report at the Institute for Science and International Security.