Netanyahu Sides With Obama on Iran's Zero Breakout Time at End of Nuke Deal

Obama said this week that the breakout time would be minimal only 13 to 15 years after the agreement with Tehran goes into effect.

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Netanyahu in the Negev during Passover, April 8, 2015.
Netanyahu in the Negev during Passover, April 8, 2015. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that Israel believes Iran's breakout time would be zero at the end of the period of implementation of the nuclear agreement with Tehran.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that 13 to 15 years after the nuclear agreement with Iran would goes into effect, the Islamic Republic's breakout time to acquire enough fissile material for an atomic bomb could be close to zero.

In a rare moment of agreement with Obama on Iran's nuclear programe, the prime minister said during a family visit in the Negev that the minimal breakout time,  "will be the inevitable result of the automatic lifting of the sanctions, that would allow Iran to achieve a production capacity [of enriched uranium] in an industrial scale."

In an interview with NPR on Tuesday, Obama explained that the reason for this very short timeframe is the advanced centrifuges Iran would have developed by then, which would allow it to enrich uranium at a significantly faster pace.

"Currently, the breakout times are only about two to three months by our intelligence estimates," Obama said. "So essentially, we're purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years of assurances that the breakout is at least a year."

CIA Director John Brennan said later on Tuesday that opponents of the framework agreement with Iran are being "disingenuous" when they said the deal could still allow Iran to build nuclear weapons.

"The individuals who say that this deal provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb are being wholly disingenuous, in my view, if they know the facts and understand what is required for a program," Brennan said at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Netanyahu in the Negev. Video in Hebrew.

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