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US Officials Warn Senators Iran Could be 'Weeks' Away From Nuclear Breakout

Iranian nuclear facility for converting uranium (AP Photo)
Iranian nuclear facility for converting uranium (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM, Israel – US officials told Senators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that Iran could make enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb in just “weeks.”

The white house argues Iran’s timetable for a nuclear bomb creates a sense of urgency for the nuclear talks in Vienna. 

“Our talks with Iran have reached an urgent point on mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki. “A deal that addresses the core concerns of all sides is in sight. But if it is not reached in the in the coming weeks, Iran’s ongoing nuclear advances will make it impossible for us to return to the JCPOA.”

Last Friday, the State Department announced the administration lifted waivers on Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak. The waivers allow foreign workers to work on the nuclear facility without US penalties.  

“I think the late Friday news dump that everyone got that entailed the civilian sanctions waiver that the Biden administration gave is a sign of this escalating round of premature concessions that the administration is giving, signaling to Tehran that it is politically very eager to resurrect this nuclear deal,” says Benham Ben Talebu, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

He believes the White House is “rushing and building this case for a urgent need for a deal off of a year of premature concessions, which we saw through indirect sanctions relief; lack of enforced sanctions; turning a blind eye to that list of Iranian oil exports throughout 2021, as well as having no clear plan to push back on the Islamic republic in the Middle East.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says lifting sanctions emboldens Iran.

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“Lifting of sanctions, and flooding this (Iranian) regime with billions of dollars means, my friends, more rockets, more UAVs, more terror squads, more cyber-attacks and more Psy-ops of more of everything. And not only against us, but also against our American allies in the region and other allies,” said Bennet.

Ben Talebu says the Biden administration is trying to leave the Middle East but that The Middle East won’t leave the US.

“They’re unaware that the Islamic republic’s not only looking to get America out, but to become the hegemon to fill the void which may in fact create the groundwork for a war that may drive the US back in,” he says.

On Wednesday, Iran unveiled another long-range missile with a reported range of 1440 kilometers (900 miles). That puts US bases and israeli well within range.

Meanwhile, more than 30 Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Biden demanding the Senate has a say over whether the US rejoins the nuclear deal. They said any agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program is of such gravity for US National security that by definition it is a treaty requiring Senate advice and consent. The original nuclear agreement in 2015 did not receive Senate approval. 

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