Iran Can Make at Least 5 Nuclear Bombs Now; It Isn't Just a Regional Bully But '50 North Koreas', Says Israel Minister

Iran can potentially make at least five nuclear bombs with the enriched uranium at its disposal, according to Israel's defense minister. Yoav Gallant also said that Iran is not a small-time threat like North Korea, which is at best a 'neighborhood bully.'

"Iran is 50 North Koreas ...It is not merely a neighborhood bully like the dynasty that rules North Korea," the minister said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Not Just One Nuclear Bomb

During a visit to Greece, the minister said that if Iran decides to weaponize its enriched uranium, it can make not just one bomb but at least five nuclear bombs.

Iran nuclear programme
ran Nuclear Deal Talks: US Secretary of State John Kerry (L), US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2L), Robert Malley (3L), of the US National Security Council, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (C), Head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2R) Reuters

"Iran is not sufficing with one nuclear bomb ...It has already accumulated enough enriched uranium at the 20% and 60% levels for five nuclear bombs," the minister said.

"If Iran enriches to the 90% weaponized level, it would be a great error and the price would be heavy, and there would be consequences which could inflame the Middle East," Gallant said.

In July, the UN nuclear watchdog had said that Iran possessed 43 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60 percent. This quantity would be technically enough to build one nuclear weapon.

Moving Closer to Nuclear Bomb

In November 2022, there were reports that Tehran was moving closer to building a nuclear bomb even as the Iran nuclear deal remained in limbo. Iran said at that point that it was enriching uranium to 60 percent purity at the Fordow nuclear site. "In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has informed the agency that it has started enriching uranium to 60% purity at Fordow site," Iranian news agency ISNA said, citing officials. Iranian authorities have said the start of enrichment at Fordow is a retaliatory measure against the IAEA's demand to curb uranium enrichment.

Bushehr Nuclear Plant, Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi in Bushehr Nuclear Plant. Hossein Heidarpour / Wikimedia Commons

Uranium needs to be enriched to 90 percent to make weapons grade fissile material. However, with the nuclear deal falling apart, Iran has been able to advance rapidly in its secretive nuclear pursuit. Iran was enriching uranium to 20 percent levels before the deal with the western powers. Under the deal, Iran is mandated to limit uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent.

Also in July, a senior Iranian leader revealed that the country was technically capable of making a nuclear bomb. The senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran can make the nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to go ahead or not.

Natanz Nuclear Facility
Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant in Iran Twitter

"Iran has the technical ability to build a nuclear bomb ... but has not made a decision to build an atomic bomb", said Kamal Kharrazi. He also said Iran has conducted extensive preparations that make it capable of striking 'deep inside Israel' is Iranian nuclear sites are targeted by Tel Aviv.