Iran’s Looming Centrifuge Breakout

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) recent report on Iran’s nuclear activities shows how, despite attention-grabbing progress in its enrichment of 20 and 60 percent uranium, Iran’s greatest advances toward a nuclear weapons capability in the near-term will likely come from its research and deployment of thousands of new, much more efficient centrifuges. If Iran’s current plans for expanding its enrichment facilities move forward, it could reach the point of being able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon in well under one month. However, two covert attacks since July 2020 targeting Tehran’s ability to manufacture these machines, appear to have bought valuable time. How much time is unclear because Iran continues to block international inspectors’ access to its nuclear facilities. The Biden administration should push Iran to fulfill its legal obligations to allow inspections while strengthening credible U.S. and Israeli military alternatives to open-ended nuclear diplomacy that only enables Iran to continue advancing its nuclear program.

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JINSA Staff Contributors

Blaise MisztalVice President for Policy
Jonathan RuheDirector of Foreign Policy