The Iranian Nuclear Program: Timelines, Data, and Estimates

In a new study of Iran’s nuclear program, Maseh Zarif, Iran team leader for AEI's Critical Threats Project, finds that:

  • Iran is expanding its uranium enrichment at both its Natanz and Fordow facilities. As a result, it is reducing the time it would need to produce fuel for an atomic weapon
  • It is estimated that by April 2012, the Iranians will have enough 20% enriched uranium to be within three months of producing fuel for a nuclear bomb – possibly by July 2012, which is one month ahead of earlier assessments based on data in the previous International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report
  • This faster timetable is due to a sudden increase in the growth of 20% enriched uranium. Iran is now enriching uranium at this level at both the Natanz and the Fordow enrichment facilities, and has expanded both facilities in recent months according to the February 2012 IAEA report


Sanctions, diplomatic tools, and other measures have neither changed Iran’s nuclear policy, nor had a visible impact on Iran’s nuclear program. Yet, some in the United States and the international community still dismiss the looming reality of a nuclear-armed Iran.

You may also be interested in Maseh Zarif's other writings on the Iranian nuclear program:


AEI's Critical Threats Project is directed by AEI resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan. Maseh Zarif can be reached at
[email protected] or through [email protected] (202.828.6035).

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] or 202.862.4870.

AEI's in-house ReadyCam TV studio may be booked by calling VideoLink at 617.340.4300. For radio interviews, please e-mail [email protected] to reserve AEI's ISDN facilities.

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