Nuclear Issue

  • 2022-03-07

    The clock is ticking on Vienna sanctions-removal talks, but the Ukraine crisis has injected some new, valid, sanctions-related snafus into negotiations. On 5 March, Moscow demanded written guarantees of sanctions waivers from US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken that would preserve Russia’s ambitious economic, scientific-technological and military collaboration projects in the pipeline with Iran.

  • 2022-02-23

    In September 2021, the Australian, the United Kingdom and the United States governments issued a joint statement announcing the creation of a new trilateral security partnership known as AUKUS. The pact ignited the international security community and, over the past five months, has generated a broad debate over the possible non-proliferation implications attached to it. While assessments have been mixed and often conflicting, they have brought to the fore some weak aspects of the non-proliferation regime. […] AUKUS will probably not be the ultimate trigger for Iran to rush and use naval reactor programmes as a cover to acquire nuclear weapons. On the contrary, the significant progress made by the Vienna negotiations and Iran’s interest in reviving the JCPOA suggests that this is not the path Iran is wanting to follow at the moment. However, measuring the impact of AUKUS simply by whether other would-be proliferators exploit the precedent is not a sufficient metric. It ignores the question of how non-nuclear weapons states re-assess the credibility of international enforcement actions, the incentives to cooperate and reduce proliferation risks, and more generally, the costs and benefits of complying with an increasingly two-tiered non-proliferation regime.

  • 2022-02-16

    Recent reporting that Iran has moved its centrifuge manufacturing capabilities from the TESA/TABA manufacturing facility near Karaj to Esfahan led us to examine the main Esfahan site. In this report, we focus our visual analysis on new activity at the existing underground tunnel complex at Esfahan, which was constructed in 2004-2006. It has three tunnel entrance areas leading under a mountain that is over 6000 feet tall. The tunnel entrance areas remained relatively unchanged for years; however, that changed in late 2020 or early 2021 when commercially available satellite images showed new construction activity at all three tunnel locations, leading to additions of metal structures, possibly for entrance shielding and protection from rockfall, at all four visible tunnel portals.

  • 2022-02-07

    Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abollahian notably said that Iran, “will not ignore the idea of direct talks with the US if this facilitates a suitable and guaranteed agreement.” Iran has refused to sit with the Americans in Vienna up until now, instead passing messages through other delegations to the talks. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei even signaled the possibility of a direct dialogue with Washington earlier, noting that it was possible to “negotiate with the enemy” without surrendering to it.

  • 2022-01-14

    After more than 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, 54 percent of Americans agreed with the decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan — even if they disapproved of the way that the situation was handled. Moreover, 69 percent of Americans think that the United States mostly failed to achieve anything in the two decades U.S. forces were there. Indeed, despite the dysfunction in Washington, there has been widespread and bipartisan support to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force that President Trump used as the justification for his targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in 2020. The Biden administration has been very clear that it will never allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, and that, if necessary, all options are on the table. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that launching another preemptive war in the Middle East would somehow be clean, easy, cheap or effective. Let’s just call it what it is — nuts.

  • 2022-01-07

    1) Iran can have enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. 2) Iran could detonate a nuclear explosive underground in as little as six months, rattling the Middle East profoundly, destabilizing the region perhaps irretrievably. 3) Iran has made key irreversible nuclear advances, perforating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, perhaps irretrievably. 4) Iran is mastering the construction and operation of advanced centrifuges far faster than anticipated. 5) Iran remains one of the most egregious violators of strategic trade controls and sanctions.

  • 2021-12-22

      This video describes the status of the negotiations on the JPCOA but is broader than that.  It also demonstrates how the USA negotiates.

    • 2021-12-15

      As negotiations to restore the JCPOA continue in Vienna, the European participants — the UK, France, and Germany (known as the E3) — issued on December 14 a stark warning before the U.N. Security Council meeting on the implementation of resolution 2231 (which enshrined the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015). In a joint statement to the media, the E3 accused Iran of accelerating its nuclear program, curtailing the monitoring by the IAEA, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, and, as a result, “undermining international peace and security.” Iran is further blamed for “walking back” on compromises reached by the previous negotiating team and “presenting additional maximalist demands.” European diplomats warn darkly that Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program is nearing the point where the JCPOA will be “hollowed out,” and that “we are rapidly reaching the end of the road.”

    • 2021-12-09

      At the Vienna talks on restoring the Iran nuclear deal, the US and EU are accusing Iran of refusing to compromise. Mohammad Marandi, a University of Tehran professor advising the Iran delegation in Vienna, says that the compromise was the nuclear deal itself, and the problem is the US refusal to abide by its own commitments and lift the sanctions that target Iranian civilians.

    • 2021-12-07

      The head of the Central Intelligence Agency said Monday that the United States does not have evidence that Iran has made a decision to weaponize its nuclear program. The US spy agency “doesn’t see any evidence that Iran’s Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] has made a decision to move to weaponize,” CIA Director William Burns told the Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council, according to CBS News.