On May 3rd, 2018, Institute of World Politics Professor Henry Sokolski appeared on the John Batchelor Show on a podcast entitled “Can Iran Fashion a Nuclear Warhead for a Ballistic Missile?” to discuss Iran’s potential capability of building nuclear weapons in light of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, revealing evidence of continued progress on the Iranian nuclear weapons program despite the Iran Deal of 2015 and denials of Iranian leadership. Professor Sokolski spoke on the show to discuss the release of this evidence, known as the atomic file, and the revelations as to whether or not Iran truly possesses the capability to fashion a nuclear weapon within months, given their alleged extensive research.
Professor Sokolski explained that the design portion of the Iranian project is done, and that if they wanted to make these weapons, they have the design work behind them to do so. He stated that people often exaggerate the difficulty of coming up with weapons’ designs, as Americans figured it out in approximately 36 months, decades ago. What is needed now, he asserted, is to move on to tightening the rein on the Iran deal and on Iran, with moves such as tightening control on Bushehr by ensuring proper surveillance.
The host, John Batchelor, then raised the concern that many considered the size of their potential weaponry, 5-10 kilotons, as small, and asked about the true significance of the potential size of their weapons. Sokolski stated that it is often exaggerated how small this weaponry is, and that, despite their size, they have the capability to deter even the Israelis when combined with technologies borrowed from other sources.
When asked if he believes that the Iran presented by Israel and the new atomic file as a nuclear power has the capability to project that power onto missiles, Sokolski replied by noting: “Our story has to be no, and I think we are safe in thinking that they are not quite there….the goal now has to be to get in front of that last sprint, and I don’t think we’ve put the proper barriers in place to do that yet.”
The full podcast may be found here.