Ya’alon: Iranian “Red-Line” 250kg 20% U235 UF6 Gas

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By Mark Langfan

Mark Langfan

Mark is an Arutz Sheva contributor who specializes in security issues and...

On Sunday, October 19, 2014 in a wide-ranging TV interview on The Charlie Rose Show, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon discussed on Iran’s efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, and confirmed Bibi’s Iranian Nuclear “Red-Line” of 250kg of 20% enriched-U235-UF6 gas.

When Mr. Rose asked what Israel’s “red line” was in terms of Iranian nuclear bomb, Min. Ya’alon stated, “I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu put it very clearly, here, in the General Assembly a year ago…The red line is the amount of enriched which might be used by them … to have enough fissile materials to have one bomb … 250 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium.”

The 250kg of 20% U235 UF6 gas is line with March 2013 Arutz Sheva estimates that worked “backwards” by calculating first how much weapons’ grade uranium was needed to build one nuclear bomb, and then calculating how much highly enriched UF6 gas was necessary to produce that amount.  The 2013 Arutz Sheva analysis predicted that, “Hence working backwards, if the Iranians were able to stockpile 240 kg of 20% UF6, then Iran could quickly enrich that stockpile to about 35kg of 90% U235 metal in less than a month.  Accounting for some wastage, 35kg 90% uranium metal is enough enriched uranium to arm one nuclear bomb. Therefore, 240 kg of 20% U235 UF6 gas is Bibi's Red-Line.”

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS), has reported that “Pakistan's nuclear warheads are based on an implosion design that uses a solid core of highly enriched uranium and requires an estimated 15-20 kg of material per warhead.”  Therefore, even the “Bibi-Red-line” of 250kg 20% U235 UF6 gas would produce much more weapons’ grade uranium metal than is needed for an A.Q. Khan implosion type of Uranium-core nuclear bomb.  It is believed Iran received its nuclear weapons’ technology from the A.Q. Khan network which means it is likely Iran’s nuclear bomb plans are in fact based on the A.Q. Khan Pakistani-implosion type of nuclear device.

Rose asking Min. Ya’alon how long it would take Iran to create enough fissile material and a delivery system for “a nuclear potential.” Based on Min. Ya’alon calculations, Ya’alon answered, “about a year … not more than that.”

Towards the end of the Min. Ya’alon segment, Rose pressed Ya’alon, asking, “So is it fair to say that Israel prefers no deal?” Ya’alon responded, “If there’s a deal that includes full cessation of any fuel cycle this might be a good deal.”

When pressed further, Min. Ya’alon stated that the key ingredient for a good deal with Iran would be one in which Iran would “have no indigenous capability to enrich uranium.”  What this means is that Israel is demanding that Iran possess no “indigenous” or “domestic” ability to enrich any uranium. 

Press reports have widely circulated that the Obama Administration appears to have already conceded in the Iranian nuclear talks that Iran will maintain thousands of centrifuges with a large capacity to enrichuranium.  The policy fight over Iran’s retaining “domestic” centrifugecapacity appears to be one of the major points of contention between Israel and the United States.