Biden Promised to Restore the Iran Nuclear Deal. Now It Risks Derailment.
Meanwhile, what happened on the ground in Natanz and in small research labs across the country worries the United States. The most visible problem, although in some ways the easiest to reverse, is that Iran has increased its nuclear fuel production over the past two years and now has a lot more fuel than before than Mr. Trump. does not withdraw from the agreement. At the time, he said Iran would return to the table, begging for a new deal.
It never did while Mr. Trump was in power, and at the end of last year, according to numerous reports, he was looking for options with the Pentagon to bomb the country’s nuclear facilities. The Pentagon resisted, and even the administration’s biggest hawk in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, opposed military action.
If the deal is restored, most of this newly enriched uranium could be shipped out of the country, which happened when the first deal was struck. Much more worrying, officials said, is the scientific knowledge Iran regularly acquires by building more advanced centrifuges and experimenting with 60% uranium enrichment, just below what is needed for a weapon. .
“The longer the non-implementation lasts, the more knowledge we will have,” a senior Iranian official said. “If the United States is concerned, the sooner it comes back the better.”
In 2015, the Obama administration was able to claim that if Iran rushed to produce nuclear fuel for a bomb – called a “nuclear explosion” – it would take at least a year. This period, officials now concede, is reduced to a few months.
The United States, for its part, has reportedly agreed that if Iran complies with the 2015 agreement, more than 1,000 sanctions could be lifted, including against the country’s central bank. Ali Vaez, who heads the Iranian project at the International Crisis Group, said the United States still has some space to offer even more sanctions relief, including against some of the close associates of Ayatollah Khamenei and some members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the Trump administration declared a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.
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