Iran could recover from an attack on its nuclear sites within six months, according to one assessment in a new congressional report, Bloomberg news reported on Wednesday.
Tehran is developing various components for their nuclear centrifuges in a number of “workshops” that are spread across the country, many of whose locations have not been identified by Israel or the US, according to a report released by the Congressional Research Service.
Should one of those sites escape a strike unscathed, the recovery time would be fairly fast, one former official told congressional researchers, according to Bloomberg.
The congressional report noted that since 2006, when Iran stopped allowing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to the workshops, knowledge of the sites has deteriorated significantly. Some officials believe the program has expanded since then.
Not all officials agree that Iran could recover so quickly. One executive branch official said Iran lacks the spare centrifuges or components to quickly install new devices after a strike, setting the program back further.
Uncertainty over any long-term effects of military action against Iran’s nuclear program could complicate American and Israeli stances on the issue. US President Barack Obama has called for more time to allow diplomatic solutions to be found, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have reportedly expressed concerns that waiting too long would make it impossible to prevent Iran from obtaining full nuclear capability.
Iran maintains its nuclear program is peaceful.
Should a strike take place, Azerbaijan may become a player, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine Thursday that Israel has gained access to a number of bases in the country.
American officials believe that Israel has reached an agreement with Azerbaijan that would allow Israel access to four abandoned, Soviet-era airfields near the border with Iran, possibly as part of its preparation for an strike, according to the magazine.
According to the report, if Israel does in fact attack Iranian nuclear facilities, access to Azeri airfields would remove the need for Israeli fighter jets to refuel in mid-flight.