Iran Could Reach Nuclear-Bomb ‘Key Point’ by Mid-2014

Washington (Reuters) -

Iran could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for one or more nuclear bombs by mid-2014, and the United States and its allies should intensify sanctions on Tehran before that point is reached, a report by a group of U.S. nonproliferation experts said.

President Barack Obama should also clearly state that the United States will take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the report said.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has expressed concern that Iran’s nuclear program has a military dimension.

The 154-page report, “U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East,” was produced by five nonproliferation experts.

“Based on the current trajectory of Iran’s nuclear program, we estimate that Iran could reach critical capability in mid-2014,” the report said.

The report recommends that the U.S. government should announce its intention to use sanctions to impose a “de facto international embargo on all investments in, and trade with, Iran” if Tehran does not comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

It also recommends sending a “crystal clear” message to Iran’s leaders that U.S. military action would prevent them from succeeding in the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

“The president should explicitly declare that he will use military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear program if Iran takes additional decisive steps toward producing a bomb,” the report said.