Negotiations in Vienna continue to be predictably poor. Between flimsy U.S. negotiators and an emboldened Tehran, Iran stands to gain a practically unfettered path to a nuclear program and a major boost to its economy.
On Friday, Iran’s nuclear chief said that Tehran will continue to enrich uranium up to 20 percent, even if a 2015 JCPOA-style negotiations is reached. The 2015 agreement limited Iran to an enrichment threshold of 3.67 percent. Mohammad Eslami from Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said:
“(Uranium) enrichment … continues with a maximum ceiling of 60%, which led Westerners to rush to negotiations, and it will continue with the lifting of sanctions by both 20% and 5%”
As I’ve written in the past, 2015 terms imposed on a 2022 Iran don’t have much bite (not that they did in 2015, either). Iran’s current nuclear program is far more advanced and puts it within spitting distance of developing a nuclear weapon.
And, oh yeah: Iran is still demanding the lifting of terrorism and human-rights sanctions, which were imposed apart from the JCPOA. Richard Goldberg wrote about this a few weeks ago:
The United States would suspend terrorism and missile sanctions on Iran, not just nuclear sanctions—providing an economic bailout to Tehran while flooding the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with cash.
You might be thinking: Then what are we negotiating for? I’m right there with you.
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