Thursday, August 4, 2022

Senior Biden official: ‘We’ve lost nothing by keeping door open to deal with Iran’

The Biden administration has “lost nothing” by remaining at the negotiation table to revive the Iran nuclear deal, even as Tehran continues to simultaneously expand its nuclear program, a senior US official told The Times of Israel last week, noting that Washington has not ceased imposing sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic even as it pursues a diplomatic resolution.

The senior official rejected calls from Republicans and an increasing number of hawkish Democrats for the US to walk away from talks to resurrect the 2015 multilateral accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; given that Iran’s breakout period — the amount of time it will take for it to amass enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon — has shrunk from roughly one year when the deal was signed to current estimates of just several weeks.

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and enacted a significant sanctions regime against Tehran, which responded by rapidly increasing its nuclear activity. Last year, Iran announced that it was enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, well above the 20% level it had reached before the nuclear deal was signed. It has held off on enriching to nuclear weapons-grade level 90%, which would likely spark a massive international response. (Read More)