Iran 12-18 months away from 'nuclear bomb': Top Republican on House Foreign Affairs Committee

"They are on the cusp of their enrichment to nuclear grade," said Texas Rep. Michael McCaul.

Published: January 24, 2022 3:50pm

Updated: January 25, 2022 8:30am

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee is warning that the Iranian regime is 12-18 months away from developing a nuclear bomb.

"Russia sent a secret agreement to Iran," Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul said during a press briefing with other GOP leaders. "Russia is trying to take the lead now on negotiations with Iran. The secret agreement, we haven't seen it. The Biden administration still thinks that negotiating at the table is the way to go." 

McCaul, former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, suspects the Iranians are stalling for time. The regime's "strategy is to delay the negotiations until they can achieve a nuclear bomb,” he said.

"By most estimates," he continued, "without getting into classified, they are on the cusp of their enrichment to nuclear grade that could be delivered and a nuclear bomb within the next year to year and a half. We have to make some serious decisions at that point."

McCaul said the U.S. Defense Department does have a "military strategy to deal with" the Iran situation, but "we have a weak commander-in-chief."

"I think the message should always be a nuclear Iran is not acceptable, and that there will be consequences to that action," he added.

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said Republicans oppose "any type of appeasement" with regard to the Iranian effort to achieve nuclear capabilities. She revealed that the Biden Administration hasn't communicated with Republican leaders in Congress about Iran in particular. 

"We oppose the flawed Obama nuclear agreement," the New York lawmaker said. "And what I would say is very different. In the Obama era, they tried to communicate with members of Congress to try to convince — they didn't — that it was a good deal, but there has been virtually no communication with the Biden administration and House Republicans on important committees related to this issue."

Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz noted that 140 Republicans and Democrats wrote a letter to the Biden administration last year arguing that any future deal with Iran "should not just encompass the enrichment capability, but also the weaponization, also the ballistic missiles, the support for terrorism, and the hostage taking."

Waltz said Americans are chained to the floor of Tehran's Evin prison right now.

"It should be a comprehensive deal for all of those aspects and have much more effective verification mechanisms. So it should be wider and deeper," he said.

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