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Europe Presses White House to Address Iran’s Growing Nuclear Program

A better title for this article would`ve been: No plan is the plan.

Europe Presses White House to Address Iran’s Growing Nuclear Program

U.S. officials say they are still discussing options to resume diplomacy

By Laurence Norman/May 12, 2023 11:23 am ET

BERLIN—Alarmed by Iran’s progress in enriching uranium at close to
weapons-grade levels, European countries are pressing the Biden
administration to revive a diplomatic track with Tehran that they hope
would help avoid a possible nuclear crisis.

After 18 months of negotiations, talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear
accord collapsed in August when Tehran rejected a deal that would have
largely restored the original pact’s terms. Iran is now amassing 60%
highly enriched uranium and recently produced a small amount of
near-weapons grade material, according to the United Nations atomic

European officials say time is running out to diplomatically address
an Iranian nuclear program that puts Tehran as little as several
months away from being able to develop a nuclear weapon, but they are
worried that the White House has shelved the issue until after the
2024 election. They acknowledged that any new effort to keep a lid on
Iran’s nuclear advances may fail to stop Iran from eventually
getting a weapon.

Reviving the nuclear deal was a top Biden administration goal and
senior U.S. officials say Washington still favors a diplomatic
solution to Iran’s nuclear challenge. But with the presidential race
looming, European diplomats say that after months of discussions, the
U.S. has floated no new initiative that could lead to talks. U.S.
officials say different ideas are under discussion.

For the White House, a diplomatic opening on Iran’s nuclear program
presents obvious political risks at a time when Washington is already
dealing with the war in Ukraine and tensions with Beijing over Taiwan.
Congressional support for an Iran deal was already faltering last year
before Iran effectively sided with Russia over Ukraine and cracked
down brutally on protesters at home.

That has European officials worried that the White House may have
decided to put aside the Iranian nuclear issue for the remainder of
President Biden’s first term, provided that Iran doesn’t move
decisively closer to a nuclear weapon. U.S. officials insist that
isn’t the case.

The Biden administration seems to be “putting the Iran issue on the
back burner and hoping that it won’t come to a boil for now,” said
Michael Singh, managing director at the Washington Institute and a
former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National
Security Council. “Tehran is instead plowing ahead with its nuclear
advances, frustrating U.S. hopes that the issue can simply be shelved
in favor of other priorities like Ukraine and Taiwan.”

In May 2018, the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal, which lifted
most international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for tight but
temporary restrictions on its nuclear work. Iran has since gradually
ramped up its nuclear program.

Iran says that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes and that
it accidentally produced a small amount of near-weapons grade
material. U.S. officials say there is no evidence Tehran is currently
trying to build a nuclear weapon.

In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken huddled in Munich with
his counterparts from the European countries that helped negotiate the
2015 deal—Britain, France and Germany. Concerned that Iran might be
preparing to produce weapons-grade fuel, they charged officials with
exploring options for putting a lid on Iran’s work.

U.S. officials say discussions are continuing on the possible options
in Washington, with different views on what a renewed diplomatic
effort should look like.

While a return to attempts to revive the 2015 pact appears to be off
the table in the U.S. and Europe, there are a range of other
possibilities, diplomats say.

One option is some form of temporary, interim agreement, where Iran
stops producing 60% enriched uranium and potentially winds back its
highly enriched stockpile for some modest sanctions relief. Others
support a longer-lasting agreement closer in terms to the nuclear
deal, while there are also proponents of a significantly modified
agreement, which could for example wind back the clock on sunsets on
Iran’s nuclear work.

“The best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is an
effective agreement that stops them from getting a nuclear weapon,”
Jake Sullivan said in remarks at the Washington Institute last week.

U.S. officials say they haven’t formulated a proposal yet because
there is no consensus on what kind of plan would be sellable to Tehran
and workable politically at home. That is causing frustration in

European officials say without a proposal or some ideas with
Washington’s imprimatur, it is impossible to engage with Iran on any
kind of meaningful discussion of what Tehran might be open to and
where its red lines are. Europe has consistently played the middleman
in talks because Tehran won’t allow its officials to negotiate
directly with Washington.

Publicly, Iran has said it would reject any kind of interim deal.
There are Iranian concerns that any deal could be annulled by a new
U.S. president in 2025. Still, at a very minimum, a temporary
arrangement could give Tehran access to some of the tens of billions
of dollars in oil export revenues that Iran has stuck abroad under
U.S. sanctions.

Iranian officials say they still support returning to the 2015 deal,
although last summer they demanded more guarantees that the agreement
would endure beyond President Biden’s first term and conditioned
reviving the pact on the U.N. atomic agency dropping an investigation
into undeclared nuclear material found in Iran. In recent weeks, Iran
has somewhat improved its cooperation with the U.N. atomic agency,
which oversees Tehran’s work, U.S. and European diplomats say.


_Should the Biden administration revive a diplomatic track with Iran
to prevent a nuclear crisis? Why or why not? Join the conversation

Israeli officials have also long opposed an interim deal as the worst
of all options—rewarding Iran for becoming a nuclear-weapon
threshold state. Some Israeli officials have warned that only military
force is now likely to deter Iran from developing a nuclear weapon
given how advanced their program is.

The Biden administration, like its predecessors, has repeatedly said
it won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Mr. Sullivan said
last week that the president “will take the actions that are
necessary to stand by this statement, including by recognizing
Israel’s freedom of action.”

Meanwhile, France, Britain and Germany have sought to keep a
diplomatic track with Iran alive. In March, senior European officials
met in Oslo with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali-Bagheri Kani.
The European countries said publicly it wasn’t a negotiating
session, but people involved in the talks said they had scoped out how
nuclear diplomacy could be unblocked.

“We spare no opportunity to clarify our views & warn against certain
miscalculations,” Mr. Bagheri-Kani said afterward on Twitter.

The European countries have also sought to build some credible
deterrence against any Iranian move to produce 90% weapons grade
material. Israeli officials have at times signaled that they could
take military action if Iran crossed that rubrik.

Last month, the three European countries gathered the 10 nonpermanent
U.N. Security Council members to brief them on a mechanism under the
2015 deal, the snapback clause, which would allow international
sanctions to be reimposed on Iran.

—Michael Gordon in Washington contributed to this article.
USA has already done anything they could from terror attempt against Iranian figures to economic terrorism against Iranian people such as piracy. Except for a full scale war.

On the other hand, Europe looks like an screaming hoe more than ever. I hope Russia receives Hormuz-1 BM, its range is accroding to MTCR limitations. However Iran doesn't need MTCR approval but after all, it would be a legal process. This missile can blind every radar installation in Ukraine, esp, with its highly resistant subsystems against electronic warfare. Cost-effective, highly capable. Take out every single air defense system in Ukraine, everything that scatters radar waves.
I may sound like a broken disk but i say it again, Iran MUST build nuclear weapons asap, that is the only way to guarantee it's peaceful future. The US and their european vassals (of which ashamely my country is part of) or the israeli regime would rather start wars just to deflect from internal crises, and they pick on the weak ie countries without nuclear weapons. Have you not noticed how muted the US axis is about DPRK now? The DPRK keeps testing cruise missiles and ICBMs like there's no tomorrow, and barely a peep from the western axis. Because they know if they start anything against DPRK, Washington will be vaporized.

Iran should really stop pussyfooting around and giving in to US and israeli axis sanctions blackmailing, threats and double crossing, get nukes now, give EVERYTHING they want to Russia and anyone else who wants iranian stuff (why are there no iranian BMs, Cruise missiles and SAMs in Syria already?), and show the US axis the finger.

As of now Iran even meekly stopped launching /testing longer range ballistic missiles to appease the US, even as the americans and israelis not only have been killing iranian scientists, civillians and soldiers, but also one of your greatest commanders, Qasem Soleimani. How lame is that?
Wow! is It, “Iran’s nuclear program advancing”-time of the year already!??
90% HEU vs UNSC snapback vs NPT withdrawal vs Israeli strike vs closure of UNSC nuclear file in 2025

Lots of moving parts. The most likely outcome is another deal.
It's funny how American puppets ask Master the things the master order to ask.


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