Iran: The Imperative to Obstruct Nuclear Progress and Regional Entrenchment

06 Mar 2023

Iran: The Imperative to Obstruct Nuclear Progress and Regional Entrenchment

By Sima Shine, Raz Zimmt, Ephraim Asculai, Sarah Lerech Zilberberg, and Yuval Rymon

The Institute for National Security Stuies; Tel Aviv University

March 6, 2023


Situation Assessment

From Iran’s perspective, the year 2022 was marked by a mix of achievements and challenges. Four years after President Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement (JCPOA), the Iranian nuclear program has advanced in accelerated fashion and brought Iran to the nuclear threshold. This stage will enable the regime, if it wishes, to complete the construction of an explosive device and conduct a nuclear test, and within a two-year period – a nuclear warhead. The nuclear program now includes the enrichment of uranium at two sites; enrichment to high levels; a large quantity of fissile material at various levels of enrichment, which enable enrichment to a high level within a few weeks for four nuclear explosive devices; the operation of thousands of centrifuges, many of them advanced; and the use of metallic uranium (most of the material at an enrichment level of 60 percent is located at Isfahan, where it can be converted to metal). Furthermore, the program is only subject to limited and partial inspection. At the same time, Iran is in an ongoing conflict with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding undeclared sites where uranium originating from foreign countries has been found. Regarding this aspect of the program, which is in violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Tehran has not provided satisfactory explanations.

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