Milhollin: Iran's 'Nuclear Clock' is Not Slowing Down

I think this comment is especially interesting, given that the Administration is trying very hard to tamp down worries about Iran's nuclear program by pointing repeatedly to technical troubles they say Iranian scientists are experiencing:

To allay fears about Iran's progress, the administration is claiming that it could take Tehran as much as a year to raise its low-enriched uranium to weapon-grade. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while acknowledging that it could, indeed, take this long, says also that it could take as little as three months. Theoretical calculations based on Iran's known capacity support the IAEA's lower figure. There is also the risk that Iran has one or more secret centrifuge sites (it was caught building one recently). If even one such site exists, the administration's estimate -- based on the sites that we know exist -- becomes meaningless.

But why quibble about how long the final phase of bomb making might take? Instead, we should keep our eyes on the big fact here, which is that Iran is fast approaching the status of a "virtual" nuclear weapon state -- one with the ability to kick out UN inspectors and build a handful of nuclear warheads. This is not an argument for bombing Iran, by Israel or anyone else. But it is a warning -- a warning that we must confront the growth of Iran's nuclear capability, and not be lulled into imagining that it's not real.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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