Here’s a question: If the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement is so good at stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, how on Earth has Iran been able to move past the deal toward nukes so easily and quickly?
I say that in light of two Iranian actions taken on two days over the past two weeks.
First, there’s Iran’s increased stockpiling of enriched uranium beyond proscribed limits. Second, there’s Iran’s increased enrichment of uranium beyond proscribed levels. Those actions, which pretty much took place instantaneously, threaten the world with Iran’s steady progression toward a nuclear weapon. Even more importantly, the European Union has joined China and Russia in refusing to do what they promised they would do in this scenario: reintroduce sanctions. That speaks to the central weakness of the nuclear accord in the first place. It was always heavy on rhetoric (and cash for Iran) and always very weak on enforceable restrictions.
While the Iranians have had limited success employing advanced centrifuges, their recent activity is clearly dangerous. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security told me that Iran is “quite capable of creating a smaller, inefficient enrichment program to make enough weapon-grade uranium for a small nuclear arsenal.”
The nuclear accord’s weaknesses don’t end simply with its inadequate safeguards against Iran’s rapid nuclear breakout.
Neither did the agreement restrain Iran’s ballistic missile research. Iran pretends this research is about building weather satellites, but it is actually about building delivery systems for the nukes it just barely still doesn’t have. Iran’s ballistic missile competency is significantly improved from 2015, in spite of the agreement.
Another problem: The nuclear deal fails to provide for anything near the necessary level of inspections access. We have to rely on the Mossad to do for real what the International Atomic Energy Agency is supposed to be able to do.
In short, Iran is showing why we desperately need a new nuclear agreement with Iran, one that actually constrains Iran’s nuclear threat. Hopefully, the European Union will soon wake up and support that pursuit.