Iran May Have Enough Uranium for Nuke in 2014

Plus: Sanctions cause drug shortages

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013 12:01 PM CST

(Newser) – By the middle of next year, Iran may have stockpiled enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear weapon, US experts say, calling for heightened sanctions on the country. In a new report, five nonproliferation experts argue that it's time for President Obama to make it "crystal clear" that the US military is willing to take action to avoid such a future, Reuters reports. "We don't think there is any secret enrichment plant making significant secret uranium enrichment right now," says one of the experts, but there's "real worry" that could change.

The US should say it's prepared for a "de facto international embargo on all investments in, and trade with, Iran" if the country fails to adhere to UN resolutions, the report says. But the Guardian points to dangers from existing sanctions: Sick Iranians are facing a shortage of vital medications ranging from chemotherapy to blood-clotting drugs. Waivers meant to prevent such shortages aren't working because they clash with banking sanctions and rules against chemicals that could be used in weapons capacities. Western officials are working on the problem, but some leading drug companies are avoiding any contact with the country.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, an Iranian pharmacist arranges medicine on shelves at a pharmacy in central Tehran, Iran.
In this Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 photo, an Iranian pharmacist arranges medicine on shelves at a pharmacy in central Tehran, Iran.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
In this Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran.
In this Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, an Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
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