Top US General Says Iran ‘Very Close’ to Being Able to Build Nuclear Weapon
© Olivier DoulieryMarine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
© Olivier Douliery
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Iran is "very close" to being able to build a nuclear weapon, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, told Time Magazine just days before the Vienna talks on the Iran nuclear agreement are set to resume.
"They’re very close this time. I think they like the idea of being able to break out," McKenzie said in an interview.
Since April, Vienna has been hosting talks aimed at preventing the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement from failing altogether. The sixth round of talks finished on 20 June but the negotiations have since hit a deadlock.
The talks are set to resume on 29 November after a months-long hiatus. The United States will not take part in this round of negotiations at the request of Iran.
While the US diplomats are currently playing the leading role in the negotiations, McKenzie said the Central Command has a variety of plans that can be executed in case Iran acquired a nuclear weapon.
McKenzie believes it will take Iran more than a year to design a nuclear warhead that can be affixed atop any of its arsenal of 3,000 ballistic missiles. The general added that Iran still has not yet developed a reentry vehicle capable of going through extremely high temperatures, pressure and vibration when falling from space back to Earth.
At the same time, Iranians were able to build high precision missiles over the last years, McKenzie noted.
“Those missiles hit within tens of meters of their targets. The one thing the Iranians have done over the last three to five years is they built a very capable ballistic missile platform,” he said.