CBN News — The Obama administration says Iran is “at most” two to three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb, an estimate that’s been known for years but kept classified until now.
Iran is also reportedly rekindling its relationship with Hamas, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip.
The new information is surfacing just as U.S.-led negotiations with Iran are approaching a final deal.
While it’s not new to the Obama administration, the declassified estimate on Iran’s nuclear breakout time comes as a surprise — and a well-timed one, just in time to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and to the public, BloombergView reported.
When asked how long the administration held the estimate, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz responded, “quite some time.”
At the beginning of Obama’s second term, he made a point to tell the American people Iran was more than a year away from producing a nuclear bomb. He never mentioned that his intelligence community believed Iran’s breakout time for a nuclear weapon was much less or that he was still pushing for diplomacy with Iran, rather than the tough new sanctions proposed by Congress.
Critics of the administration’s original estimate say they were snubbed by the Obama administration.
“They have made it very hard for those of us saying, ‘Let’s just focus on weapons-grade uranium.’ There is this shorter period of time and not a year. If you just want a nuclear test device to blow up underground, I don’t think you need a year,” Bloomberg News quoted David Albright, a former weapons inspector.
Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, Iran and Hamas are back on friendly terms.
Some believe Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards transferred tens of millions of dollars over the past few months to Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza.
This creates a major threat to Israel.
According to intelligence reports, those funds are being used primarily to help Hamas rebuild the terror tunnels.
Israel destroyed many of those tunnels in response to Hamas rocket barrages on Israeli cities and towns last summer.
Egypt, under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has also destroyed dozens of tunnels that allowed Hamas and other terror groups relatively easy access to the Sinai Peninsula.