March 1st, 2009
10:25 AM ET
7 years ago

Mullen says Iran has material to make nuclear weapon


Watch Mullen run down the latest in Iran and North Korea.

(CNN) - Iran likely has enough material to make a nuclear weapon, Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told CNN's John King Sunday.

“We think they do, quite frankly," Mullen said on State of The Union with John King.  "Iran having a nuclear weapon, I believe, for a long time, is a very, very bad outcome for the region and for the world."

Earlier: Iran tests its first nuclear power plant

Tehran has denied pursuing nuclear weapons, and insists the country's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Mullen also said he is watching North Korea closely, although he also said he and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have yet to make a recommendation on how to approach that country.

Earlier: N. Korea: Ready to launch satellite

"There has been no recommendations one way or another," he said. "There's a lot of focus on this and then recommendations and certainly policy discussions will come based on the timing and what North Korea does."

Filed under: Iran • Mike Mullen • State of the Union
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    Is this an invitation to another invasion?

    March 1, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Greg

    Isn't the fact that this nuclear material is not in a form suitable for a nuclear weapon worth reporting?

    March 1, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Sylvia

    I cannot wait until the neo-cons at CNN are laid-off and some personnel with objectivity are hired.

    March 1, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Walter

    Let me guess. Aluminum tubes and yellow cake?


    March 1, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Fan of Common Sense

    Thank God we have Obama to go "TALK" to them.

    (You can bet the Iranians are laughing their heads off at the new leader of the free world.)

    March 1, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Mike

    What is the messiah going to do about this? All I have seen is his willingness to trash Israel. God will judge him and our country for this!!

    March 1, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Joshua Ludd

    Same old story.... no evidence that Iran is actually making, trying to make, or even wants to make nuclear weapons. Even if they did, good thing or not, could we really pretend to be surprised given the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons that no one says a word about, and that US policy towards Iran has been so belicose over the last 8 years including calling the "regime" there evil, as well as the numerous times the US media has "misquoted" their president.. such as translating "Iran has the right to nuclear energy" to "Iran has the right to Nuclear WEAPONS" and constant statements that the president "wants to" or "intends to" wipe Israel off the map, when this was, while still unfriendly to Israel, not what was actually said?

    March 1, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. dave bannerton

    actually... if true...the interesting point will be the Iranian announcement that they possess one.. then the 98% of distrust will be 100%....and we can just say....see...not for peace....

    let them have their one candle... as good old Hillary said.... we can wipe them off the map....

    focus should be on preparing an overwhelming DIPLOMATIC response....cut off all trade with support from EUROPE.. thats one way the US can restore our partnerships....and if they dont join...well...then bush wasnt that wrong to go at it alone and we all know where we stand...

    March 1, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. roberto

    If they want nuclear weapons so much ..... let us send several nuetron bombs their way. The sound of silence is peace.

    The sooner the better.

    March 1, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Skeptic

    I am not sure Iran having a nuclear weapon would be a bad thing. It may actually increase the chance of peace between Iran and other countries. May be if all countries in the world have nuclear weapons, none of them would start a war any more because then starting a war is equal to suicide.

    The example of US vs. Soviet Union proves that. If both US and the Soviet Union didn't have nuclear weapon, one of them would have started a war during the Cuban missle crisis. But neither of them did anything stupid because they knew any stupid move will result in a global disaster.

    The recent Iran-Bahrain diplomatic is another proof. When some one inside Iran remotely suggested that Bahrain was once an Iranian province, President Ahmadinejad (which we all agree is not a bright leader) quickly sent a delegate to Bahrain to appologize. Weired, eh? President Ahmadinejad who has said and done the most radical things, now that Iran actually does have power, is trying to make peace!

    March 1, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Hear the truth

    This headline is sensationalist and incorrect!

    While Iran may have enough Uranium to make a nuclear weapon, they have yet to enrich this uranium to the point where it could be used in a nuclear weapon. Iran has yet to enrich uranium past 10-13% (which is what is used in nuclear power plants) to >90% which is what is required for a weapon.

    Iran is an NPT member and has installed IAEA cameras at Natanz and Isfahan. In addition Iran's supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

    Conversely, Israel is not an NPT member and yet has nuclear weapons, a nuclear weapons program and a civilian program which are not monitored or subject to IAEA safeguards.

    Please stop the fer mongering and the hypocrisy.

    March 1, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. NYC-Student

    Pick a a city and say goodbye

    March 1, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Keith

    Iran making a nuke? Hmmm, another thing to add to W's impressive list of accomplishments. Seems like he attacked the wrong country at the wrong time while allowing the true threat to progress unfettered.

    March 1, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. David

    The problem is, every other article is quite specific that "enough" reactor-grade material still requires a whole lot more enrichment before it is "weapons grade"

    March 1, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. yes, that is the solution to recession, more wars

    what stupid policy wonk is drumming this up

    March 1, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Patriot

    Great! A country dominated by religious whack-o's and a pre-medieval mentality with a nuke. And we know that Israel has nukes and as a legacy of the Holocast is not about to be pushed around by bully-boys in burnooses.

    March 1, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Jon in Ca

    And now that Obama is in the White House – Iran has comfort of knowing nothing will stop them from moving forward with the construction of a nuke.

    At BEST Obama will talk...and talk...and talk some more. Funny – we had ANOTHER President that talke and talked while Americans were held hostage by Iran for more than 400 days.

    Oh yeah – Obama's mentor Jimmy Carter!

    March 1, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. André R. Gignac

    Immediate fears:

    1- Iran getting nuclear weapons;
    2- The reaction of the United States of America.

    The sure path to war is the nourrished thought that one's country is surrounded by ennemies.

    March 1, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Mike Metberg

    So what if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Israel has 200 of them and we have thousands. Would this really be that important or are we just looking for a reason to destroy another country and with it our economy?

    March 1, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  20. kenneth aken

    How does the Admiral know? Is it more scare tactics? Why won't he share the source with the citizens?

    March 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Bob

    not good...not good at all.

    March 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Mohammad

    Iran has material to make nuke.
    How about Jews state already have more Nuke., killing thousand.........................

    Why is the double stand all the time ? Becasue they are JEW !!!

    March 1, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Stan

    My fear is that Iran, if it were to get a nuclear bomb, might use it on Israel.

    If Tel Aviv were to disappear, Israel (not well known for their moderation) would retaliate so harshly with their own nuclear weapons that there could be a nuclear winter, and the Middle East would definitely be uninhabitable for centuries. This means oil from the region would, at least for a few years, be unavailable. A nuclear winter and/or this loss of oil would cause civilization as we know it to fall apart.

    I believe there is a 1 in 100 chance that Iran will follow through on its rhetoric. Unfortunately, this implies that there is a 1 in 100 chance the world will end as we know it.

    March 1, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Ted van Tol

    Well, Israel has nukes too so the USA must become more
    diplomatic from now and make sure Iran and Israel will never use nucliar power in the first place.
    This is another Obama electionpromise and I am sure he will do so.

    March 1, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Skeptic

    Would Iran having nuclear weapons increase or decrease the chance of peace? If all countries in the world had nuclear weapons, would they start a war knowing that starting a nuclear war is a suicide? During the Cuban missile crisis both the US and the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. A war didn’t happen because they knew any stupid move would result in a disaster. Recently, an idiot in Iran said that Bahrain was once an Iranian province. Ahmadinejad, quickly sent a delegate to apologize. Ahmadinejad, who has said and done the worst, now that does have power, is trying to make peace!

    March 1, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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