Iran is on the verge of having enough materials to assemble a nuclear weapon, a senior State Department official told reporters on Monday, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
This comes as the Biden administration has made little progress in its efforts to negotiate with Iran into re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Iran has not even wanted to negotiate with the U.S. face to face. Instead, talks have been held in Vienna indirectly, Al Jazeera reported.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the Obama-era nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded to this move by continually enriching uranium for nuclear weaponry, Arab News reported.
“We have, I think, a few weeks left to see if we can get back to mutual compliance,” Blinken said on Jan. 13.
“We’re very, very short on time,” since “Iran is getting closer and closer to the point where they could produce on very, very short order enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The State Department reiterated this week that time is running short.
After 10 months of negotiations, the senior department official said the administration will stop diplomacy whether Iran takes the nuclear deal or not, the Free Beacon reported.
“We are in the final stretch because, as we’ve said now for some time, this can’t go on forever because of Iran’s nuclear advances,” the official said.
“This is not a prediction,” the official said. “It’s not a threat. It’s not an artificial deadline. It’s just a requirement that we’ve conveyed indirectly to Iran and to all our [international] partners for some time, which is that given the pace of Iran’s advances, its nuclear advances, we only have a handful of weeks left to get a deal, after which point it will unfortunately be no longer possible to return to the [deal] and to recapture the nonproliferation benefits that the deal provided for us.”
This lack of progress comes as no surprise since Iran has been dragging its feet in negotiations for months. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned Parliament about this last month.
“This negotiation is urgent, and progress has not been fast enough. We continue to work in close partnership with our allies, but the negotiations are reaching a dangerous impasse,” Truss told lawmakers on Jan. 25, according to Iran International.
But this is a direct violation of President Joe Biden’s assurance to Americans that his administration would stop Iran from nuclear proliferation.
Biden confirmed his stance when he met last summer with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The president told reporters on Aug. 27 that they would “discuss the threat from Iran and our commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. And — but we’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”
In a statement after the meeting, the White House said, “The President made clear his commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. The leaders reviewed steps to deter and contain Iran’s dangerous regional behavior. They reiterated their commitments to work constructively and deepen cooperation to address all aspects of Israel’s security against Iran and other threats.”
The whole point of the JCPOA was to enter into an agreement with Iran under which it would produce only low-enrichment uranium for nuclear energy, not weapons. The U.S. would lift its sanctions if Iran agreed to this, according to Foreign Policy.
But now Iran appears to be enriching uranium for a nuclear weapon. In doing so, Iran is forcing the Biden administration’s hand diplomatically. One way or another, the administration will have to end diplomacy with Iran because of this.
Blinken said that even if the JCPOA were renegotiated and both countries agreed, it “will become increasingly hard to reverse because they’re learning things, they’re doing new things as a result of having broken out of their constraints under the agreement,” Al Jazeera reported.
Essentially, Iran has now tied the Biden administration’s hands. At this point, re-enacting the JCPOA would not do much to stop Iran from making nuclear weapons, and no deal at all would have about the same result.
The decision lies with Iran as its diplomats have traveled back to Tehran to consult.
If it re-enters the JCPOA, the U.S. sanctions under Trump will be lifted and Iran will be flooded with cash, the Free Beacon reported.
But if no deal is reached, Iran can continue enriching uranium, build a nuclear weapon and use it as leverage against the West.
Either way, it’s a win for Iran.
This is just one more step in the continued mess of foreign policy under the Biden administration.
Overall, in just one year in office, tensions have grown with China, Russia is on the verge of invading Ukraine, the Taliban retook Afghanistan after an awful U.S. withdrawal, and now Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons.
As former National Security Advisor John Bolton said in an opinion piece for The Hill, foreign policy in the early Biden administration will be remembered by Americans as disastrous.
“Self-inflicted wounds, delusional policy objectives, underestimated strategic menaces and impotence against immediate threats unfortunately characterized the Biden administration’s approach,” Bolton wrote.