Iran's nuclear breakout time is under 2 weeks, U.S. Senate hears


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US Army Lieutenant General Michael Kurilla
MANDEL NGAN / AFPUS Army Lieutenant General Michael Kurilla

Threats in the Middle East are rising, according to Army General Michael Kurilla

So advanced is Iran's uranium development program that the Islamic Republic can now produce sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon in under two weeks, according to a U.S. military chief.

Army General Michael Kurilla, who leads U.S. Central Command, was echoing similar assessments from his colleagues such as Colin Kahl, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Kahl estimated that it would take Iran 12 days to produce fissile material adequate for an atom bomb. 

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On Thursday, Kurilla apprised the Senate Armed Services Committee of the latest developments in the Middle East, emphasizing multiple security risks to the U.S. and its allies. Iranian proxy groups continue to attack U.S. troops, including a rocket strike by Iranian-backed terrorists on U.S. troops in Syria earlier this week, he said. 

"Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of ballistic and cruise missiles, some capable of striking the entire Middle East and Levant. The Iranian regime now holds the largest and most capable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle force in the region," the official said "The advancement of Iranian military capabilities over the past 40 years is unparalleled in the region; in fact, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of today is unrecognizable from just five years ago."

"Iran is undeterred from its malign activities, which include conventional threats to neighbors, support to violent proxy groups that spread chaos and instability throughout the region, and support to Russia’s war in Ukraine," Kurilla added. 

The mullah regime denies wanting to acquire atomic weapons, and says it had made no attempt to enrich uranium beyond 60-percent purity, claims Washington and Jerusalem say are detached from reality.

Kurilla also highlighted the terrorist threat emanating from what he said was one of the Islamic State’s most dangerous affiliates, the Afghan IS-Khorasan or ISIS-K network. 

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