The US claims that Iran’s nuclear program is “too advanced” for the conditions of the JCPOA￼
Iran–Iran’s uranium enrichment is now too advanced for a return to the original 2015 nuclear agreement to prevent Tehran from fast developing a weapon if it so desires, according to US officials. The news comes as the United States and other world powers gather in Vienna to explore methods to fix the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or forge a new agreement.
According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, US officials expect a new deal with Iran to have a considerably shorter break time than the one-year term proposed in the 2015 agreement. The one-year pause was a crucial part of the agreement. The time limit was imposed based on the assumption that if the deal fell apart, Iran would need a year to enrich enough uranium and manufacture the fuel for a nuclear weapon.
Since the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018, Iran has increased its enrichment and now exceeds pre-2015 levels. The Trump administration’s choice to quit and breach the original nuclear deal is being blamed for Iran’s new accelerated capabilities. Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement and reimposed penalties, alleging that the pact was too lenient and that he might obtain a better deal elsewhere.
Iran held off on resuming uranium enrichment for approximately a year, then gradually ramped up the program to levels well beyond what it had before the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran’s escape period is currently a few weeks, according to authorities. The US has worries about Iran’s capacity to construct a nuclear weapon.
Despite the fact that Iran’s increased enrichment has alarmed many, authorities in the United States and Europe say Iran lacks the expertise necessary to make a full bomb or connect a warhead to a missile. Iran claims that it has no ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon and that its nuclear program is benign.
The shift in probable breakout time, according to US officials, will not halt discussions in Vienna, and the US intends to proceed. The discussions have been sluggish, but indications in recent weeks indicate that they are coming closer to a deal. Last month, Iran’s foreign minister stated that if an agreement is reached, Iran would be happy to communicate directly with the US, which is a significant step forward in the negotiations. On Friday, negotiators will return to Vienna under increasing pressure to reach a swift agreement.