The Destruction of an Iranian Nuclear Facility Makes Nuclear Negotiations Meaningless

June 16 2021

On April 11, an explosion occurred at the Islamic Republic’s underground uranium-enrichment facility in the city Natanz. It appears that Israeli agents succeeded in placing powerful explosives in the facility, and it is likely that few if any of the centrifuges in the complex remain functioning. While Iran has two other facilities where it can enrich uranium—an aboveground one in Natanz and an underground one in the city of Fordow—the 2015 nuclear agreement prohibits most uranium-enrichment at both. Hans Rühle explains the implications for the Biden administration’s attempts to revive the 2015 deal:

What makes the current situation unique is that Israel has succeeded in crippling Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility for the unforeseeable future—with a single explosive device and without significant collateral damage. This is particularly important because the 2015 nuclear agreement stipulates that Natanz is Iran’s sole [legal] facility for enriching uranium.

Moreover, since Iran’s part in the agreement consisted essentially of reductions in its enrichment capacity at Natanz, the extensive destruction of that facility would thus have made it objectively impossible for Iran to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Thus, the [deal] is obsolete and should be terminated; in any case, current developments at Natanz should lead to an indefinite suspension of negotiations.

[W]ith the attack on Natanz, Israel has pulled off a brilliant coup. . . . Israel has no reason to hope that U.S. policies will change fundamentally under the Biden administration. Nice words, which President Joe Biden undoubtedly will deploy, are unlikely to be enough to substitute for action.

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Read more at National Interest

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy