The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the deadly attack on American troops at the Kabul airport has handed some grim news to the nation’s military and citizens.
International news took another dangerous turn this week when the Associated Press reported that Iran is now approaching the final production of material capable of producing nuclear weapons.
The news came through United Nations sponsored inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency officer Rafael Mariano Grossi who found that Iran is producing nuclear material in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement that it entered. Grossi found that 3.6 grams of uranium had been made at Iran’s state nuclear plant at Isfahan.
Iran predictably said the reported production is for civilian nuclear energy programs. Grossi’s office reported that the output violates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), whereby Iran receives economic incentives for strict limitations on its nuclear development.
The other members of the JCPOA also said that the reported development is a “key step” in the production of a nuclear weapon. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price wrote that Iran has no credible need for the reported uranium production and called it inconsistent with JCPOA compliance.
Price added that the findings would affect the administration’s position on returning to the JCPOA, saying that “the U.S. is not setting a hard deadline to negotiate, but this window will not remain open indefinitely.”
In 2018, President Donald Trump ordered the United States to withdraw from the JCPOA. The Trump administration argued that the Iran Nuclear Deal has severe flaws, particularly allowing Iran to fight conventional warfare and intervene in hostilities in Yemen.
The JCPOA purports to limit Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium to about 660 pounds. Iran has exceeded that limit and has started to produce enriched uranium that can be used in weapons research and development.
Experts stated earlier this year that the time it would take for Iran to acquire enough weapons-grade uranium had been brought down from one year to three months.
Joe Biden currently has a difficult negotiation position, as Iran is demanding to remove all economic sanctions as a precondition to renegotiate the JCPOA. Biden’s disastrous mistakes in the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan will undoubtedly complicate matters.