Last week, International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) confirmed that Iran removed 27 cameras from its nuclear facilities. The 27 cameras were installed as part of the 2015 JCPOA, referred to as the nuclear deal. As IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi stated, “The less my inspectors and my analysists see what is happening in Iran, the less ability we have to know how much material they are enriching, how many centrifuges they are putting together…. No-one can go into an agreement without knowing what your base line is… Normally, history tells us and recent history tells us, it is never a good thing when you tell international inspectors to go home.”
He also warned that if Iran does not reinstall those cameras within the next few weeks, it will be impossible to return to the deal.
This comes as news breaks that Iran has been constructing yet another nuclear facility close to the Natanz nuclear facility, so deep within the mountains that it will evade the massive power of bunker busting bombs.
According to David Albright and Sarah Burkhard from the Institute for Science and International Security, as well as Andrea Stricker from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, breakout time for a nuclear bomb, has been reduced to zero. Within 1.5 months, they can have three nuclear bombs.
It is obvious, what sort of game Iran has been playing with the international community.
Also last week, the Biden administration decided to impose sanctions on Chinese and Emirati companies, as well as a network of Iranian petrochemical producers, accusing them of helping to “evade sanctions” by supporting the sale of Iran’s petrochemical products abroad.
Does this actually signal that the United States administration, under President Biden, has given up on employing merely the diplomatic tract with Iran? Is the imposition of sanctions sufficient? Are they actually considering a “Plan B”? Or will they just allow the nuclear talks to whither on the vine, without acknowledging that we have exhausted the diplomatic route? Will they still try to pull a deal with Iran out of their back pockets, as evidence of a “foreign policy victory” before the midterm elections in November?
Here to answer these questions and more is Behnam Ben Taleblu.
About the speaker: Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior fellow at FDD where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Behnam previously served as a research fellow and senior Iran analyst at FDD. Prior to his time at FDD, Behnam worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think-tank in Washington. Leveraging his subject-matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Behnam has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics. Frequently called upon to brief journalists, congressional staff, and other Washington-audiences, Behnam has also testified before the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament.
His analysis has been quoted in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fox News, The Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse, among others. Additionally, he has contributed to or co-authored articles for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Fox News, The Hill, War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and U.S. News & World Report. Behnam has appeared on a variety of broadcast programs, including BBC News, Fox News, CBS Interactive, C-SPAN, and Defense News. Behnam earned his MA in International Relations from The University of Chicago, and his BA in International Affairs and Middle East Studies from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
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