New intelligence shows Iran closer than ever to a bomb

( The UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has received new and significant intelligence over the past month indicating that Iran is closer than ever to having the ability to build a nuclear weapon, The Associated Press (AP) reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The diplomatic sources say the intelligence, gathered from the U.S., Israel and at least two other Western countries, shows that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of an atomic warhead through a series of computer models that it ran sometime within the past three years.

Nuclear experts state that computer modeling is a key component of an advanced weapons program. “You want to have a theoretical understanding of the working of a nuclear weapon that is then related to the experiments you do on the various components,” said David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, a frequent source for the U.S. government on Iran.

The computer models “typically assess how high explosives compress fissile warhead material, setting off the chain reaction that results in a nuclear explosion,” the AP report said.

Such computer-run modeling is “critical to the development of a nuclear weapon,” Albright added.

The latest intelligence may help bolster Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s case for stronger “red lines” to be set for Iran.  

Posted on September 11, 2012 .