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Since this webinar had first been arranged the world had woken up, last Friday, to the surprise announcement that Beijing has brokered stronger ties between Riyadh and Tehran, radically upending the world order that we had known of, with the United States at the helm. This has reverberated around capitals all over the world. How does this change the calculus of Iran’s development of nuclear capability, of Israel’s ability to attack Iran, if it so chooses, using Saud Arabian air space? What does it say about America’s role in the world, China’s intentions, and Saudi Arabia as a long-term ally of the United States?
According to the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA), in less than 12 days, Iran will have enough highly enriched uranium for at least three nuclear bombs. The IAEA has detected traces of uranium particles at the Fordow Enrichment Facility at 83.7 percent, just a few days glide to the 90 percent level necessary for a nuclear bomb. The IAEA also has said that it can no longer reestablish any certainty regarding Iran’s activities under a revived JCPOA, such as the production of advanced centrifuges and heavy water, due to Iran’s decision in February 2021 to deny the IAEA access to data from key JCPOA-related monitoring and surveillance equipment and because of Iran’s decision in June 2022 to remove all such equipment, including video cameras and online enrichment monitoring devices.
Yet, on Saturday, March 4th, the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other top officials in Tehran and gave vague assurances that these concerns would be addressed.
The questions remain: Can we trust the nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA? And can Iran be stopped from developing a nuclear bomb before it is too late?
Here to answer these questions and more is Rich Goldberg.
About the Speaker: Richard Goldberg is a senior advisor at FDD. From 2019-2020, Richard served as the Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the White House National Security Council. He previously served as chief of staff for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and deputy chief of staff and senior foreign policy adviser to former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois in both the U.S. House and Senate.
As a staff associate for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, Richard worked on a wide range of issues related to U.S. foreign assistance, including foreign military financing, international security assistance, international peacekeeping, development, global health and economic support funds. He was a founding staff director of the House U.S.-China Working Group and was among the first Americans ever to visit China’s human space launch center. A leader in efforts to expand U.S. missile defense cooperation with Israel, Richard played a key role in U.S. funding for the Arrow-3 program, Iron Dome and the deployment of an advanced missile defense radar to the Negev Desert.
In the Senate, Richard emerged as a leading architect of the toughest sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the lead Republican negotiator for three rounds of sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Iran, the SWIFT financial messaging service, and entire sectors of the Iranian economy. Richard also drafted and negotiated legislation promoting human rights and democracy in Iran, including sanctions targeting entities that provide the Iranian regime with the tools of repression. His Iran sanctions work was featured in the book The Iran Wars.