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The Art of the Hysterical Headline

Posted By Jason Ditz On October 8, 2012 @ 9:19 am In News | Comments Disabled

It’s Monday and no one’s attacked Iran yet, so that means its time for hysterical headlines. Today’s comes courtesy of the Associated Press and the redoubtable George Jahn, who never met a non-story with the word Iran in it that he couldn’t turn into a countdown to Armageddon.

Think tank: path to Iran nuke warhead 2-4 months [1]

What it sounds like: Iran, who we all know is already on the path to a nuclear warhead because George Jahn and everyone else has been telling us so for years, will have a nuclear warhead in 2-4 months (sometime between December and February).

How the story starts: “Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear bomb within two to four months but…”

What is actually happening: ISIS, the source of a lot of Iran’s “totally might” stories over the past several years, has estimated that if Iran actually tried to start making weapons-grade uranium (which they’ve never done before) and was successful, and rededicated their entire civilian uranium enrichment program to making weapons-grade uranium, could theoretically have enough for a single bomb in four months. Of course, the IAEA is monitoring those centrifuges and would know about such a change instantly.

So if Iran made that uranium, and if they ever figured out how to make a warhead for it (which ISIS concedes would take much, much longer) it might conceivably have a single nuclear weapon at some point in the far-flung future, suitable for doing very little because it wouldn’t have been tested yet, and if they did blow it up underground and test it, they wouldn’t have it anymore and would have to start enriching up another one.

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[1] Think tank: path to Iran nuke warhead 2-4 months : http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAN_NUCLEAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-10-08-10-20-08

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