Introduction – June 9, 2021
Literally for decades Israeli officials warned that Iran was only a few steps away from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In fact, in 1992 Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset that Iran was only “3 to 5 years” from acquiring nuclear weapons.
That was nearly thirty ago and we are still waiting.
However, that hasn’t stopped U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken from making similar claims recently. Days ago he warned that Iran’s “nuclear program is galloping forward”. Like Netanyahu before him, Blinken didn’t cite any hard facts to support this claim but it may mark an ominous new turn.
For months now relations between the West and Iran have been quiet if somewhat tense but Blinken’s remarks may signal a change. We could soon see mounting tensions, similar to the period during the Bush administration when the use of “all options”, i.e. military force, was a frequently implied threat.
Those tensions have since eased but Blinken’s remarks may mean that the prospect of military conflict with Iran could soon return. Ed.
Iran nuclear ‘breakout time’ could be weeks if not restrained -Blinken
Reuters – June 8, 2021
The United States still does not know whether Iran is ready to resume compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal and if Tehran continues to violate the pact, the “breakout time” it needs to amass enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon will shrink to weeks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
“It remains unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do come back into compliance,” Blinken told lawmakers. “Meanwhile, its program is galloping forward. … The longer this goes on, the more the breakout time gets down … it’s now down, by public reports, to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will get down to a matter of weeks.”
The United States and Iran began indirect talks in Vienna in April to see if both sides might agree to resume compliance with the 2015 accord under which Tehran agreed to restrain its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain fissile material for a weapon in return for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. sanctions.
The fifth round of talks ended on June 2 and diplomats have said a sixth may begin on Thursday, though that was not set in stone. The United States abandoned the agreement in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms about a year later. read more
Resuming talks on Thursday would leave only eight days to reach a pact before Iran’s June 18 election, which is likely to usher in a hard line president. Some delegates say that while a deal is possible by then, it appears increasingly unlikely.