Iran’s Nuclear Breakout Time is Now ‘Unacceptably Short’
The United States estimates the amount of time Iran needs to churn out enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb is now “very short,” a Biden administration official said Friday, December 17.
The official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, did not specify the exact length of time Iran needs to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon. Estimates have put the breakout time at several months.
“But it’s really short. It is unacceptably short,” the official was quoted as saying.
The official also called the new assessment of the Islamic Republic’s breakout time “alarming.”
The remarks came as Western powers reported some progress in talks to save the landmark Iran nuclear deal, but European diplomats warned that they were “rapidly reaching the end of the road.”
In a blow to European mediators, Iran requested a new pause in the talks in Vienna, which aim to bring the United States back into the 2015 agreement and roll back nuclear activities. The Islamic Republic publicly stepped up its nuclear projects after the US withdrawal from the deal. Donald Trump and fellow Republicans were responsible for the withdrawal.
The talks had just resumed in late November after a five-month break following the election of a new hardline government in Iran.
Underlying Western concerns are fears that Iran will soon have made enough progress that the 2015 accord — under which it was promised economic relief in return for drastic curbs on its nuclear work — will be obsolete.
Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, called for a “sense of urgency” and for talks to resume before the end of the year.
“We are not talking anymore about months, we are talking about weeks,” Mora said.
Former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions including a unilateral US ban on Iran’s oil sales, vowing to bring the US adversary to its knees.
US President Joe Biden supports a return to the agreement negotiated by predecessor Barack Obama, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but has been frustrated by the pace of resurrection efforts.
“It’s not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into the JCPOA,” Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, said of the talks.
“We are paying the wages of the disastrous decision to leave the deal back in 2018,” he said. (TOI / VFI News)
“Lord, we pray that You would expose the plans of the enemy and prevent Iran from reaching nuclear weapon levels. Please protect Israel and the world from this threat.”
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