The Secretary of State added: “Now, the fissile material is one thing. Having a weapon that they can actually detonate and use is another.
“And so there’s a timeline that’s probably different for that.
“But the bottom line is they are getting closer to the point where they would be either a threshold nuclear power, or actually a nuclear power.”
However, he stressed he was issuing his opinion based on “what’s been publicly reported.”
He added: “So that’s a real problem, and it’s a problem that could get more acute, because if Iran continues to lift some of these restraints imposed by the agreement, that could get down to a matter of weeks.”
Tensions between the two nations escalated in 2018 when former US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of their 2015 nuclear deal and imposed punitive sanctions on Iran.
Under the terms of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA), the Islamic Republic agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
Ahmad Hosseini, spokesperson for Iran’s Defence Ministry, confirmed that the rocket is capable of launching a single 450-pound satellite or up to 10 smaller ones.
He added that the test helped Iran achieve its “most powerful” rocket engine and that the rocket can be launched using a mobile launching pad.
The solid-propellant space launcher has raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of Iran’s pledge to limit the range of its ballistic missiles to less than 2,000 km, according to the arms-control analyst Fabian Hinz.
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