Just yesterday, Ed informed us of the “great news” that Joe Biden might be close to rebooting the futile Iran deal, despite the fact that the Iranians have shown no interest in engaging in any sort of productive discussions. What such a deal might look like is anyone’s guess because “the most transparent administration ever” has yet to release any details of the ongoing talks to the public. But the Iranians haven’t been twiddling their thumbs while waiting for us to sweeten the pot even further. The State Department appeared to contradict Biden on Monday night, saying that the talks will conclude in the coming weeks whether there is a new deal in place or not. And on top of that, they claim that Iran will have enough weapons-grade fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon in “weeks, not months.” So now we have that to look forward to. (Free Beacon)
Iran is weeks away from having the fuel needed to power an atomic weapon, according to the State Department, which says that negotiations over a revamped nuclear deal will conclude in the coming weeks—even if the parties fail to reach a deal.
Iran will have enough fissile material enriched to weapons-grade capacity in “weeks, not months,” a senior State Department official told reporters on Monday following the conclusion of another round of indirect talks with Iran and world powers in Vienna.
Following 10 months of negotiations, the State Department says diplomacy will cease in the coming weeks whether Iran takes a deal or not. This is because the Biden administration assesses that Iran’s nuclear program will have become so advanced that reentering the 2015 nuclear accord will provide no benefits to U.S. and global national security.
While we still haven’t been shown any details of what the Biden administration is putting on the table, the linked report suggests that if Iran takes the current offer, “virtually all U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration will evaporate.” This would free up billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets. It would probably also open up more legitimate markets for Iran’s oil industry.
The State Department spokesperson went on to try to reassure everyone, saying that the Biden administration “is prepared to deal with any scenario.” Oh, really? Just like they were prepared to deal with the withdrawal from Afghanistan? I’m sure we all feel better right about now.
Among the many unclear aspects of a proposed deal with Iran is the question of why they would even feel compelled to make a deal with us at this point. They are already selling plenty of oil in illicit deals with Russia, China, and North Korea, in violation of international sanctions. They are also getting plenty of monetary aid from those same sources. Why they would give up the opportunity to be the next member of the Nuclear Club is a mystery.
So let’s just say that Iran walks away from the table again. What comes next? The State Department didn’t mention the possibility of any sort of military option, though I would hope they would keep such plans under wraps until the time is ripe. I’m not talking about open warfare here, but rather some sort of limited strike to take out their nuclear facilities. The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would be a likely target. If we don’t do it, there’s a very good chance that Israel will take on the task themselves, though that would complicate the situation in the Middle East yet again.
We certainly have plenty of other pots boiling over at the moment and it would be nice to deal with them first. Unfortunately, the situation with Iran isn’t going to remain on hold forever. The IAEA can no longer access Iran’s nuclear facilities so we’re largely in the dark as to what they are up to, but you can rest assured it’s probably not good.