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Source: Foreign Policy

Mar 27, 2024

Whatever Happened to Biden’s Iran Policy?
Washington now has to treat Tehran as a de facto nuclear power

By Danielle Pletka, a distinguished senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Mere months into his new administration, U.S. President Joe Biden told a Rose Garden press conference that he was “pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage in discussions, in direct discussions with us and with our partners on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back” into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.

It was his clearest statement, as president, about the Iran policy he was committed to pursue.

Almost three years later, those discussions have long since fallen apart, replaced with…nothing. Indeed, a survey of congressional Democrats and Republicans, administration officials, foreign diplomats, and Iran observers has confirmed the obvious: The Biden administration now has no discernable policy on Iran and its nuclear program.

Iran merited only a passing mention in the president’s State of the Union address. And not having a policy couldn’t come at a worse time.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) regularly produces assessments on the state of Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program.

It now assesses the breakout time—the period necessary for Iran to assemble a nuclear weapon—at zero. Effectively, that means Iran has enough weapons-grade uranium to build a bomb within days, and enough to assemble six weapons within 30 days.

While not confirming the ISIS figures, at the March 4 Board of Governors meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Director-General Rafael Grossi made clear the international body has very little sense of what’s happening in Iran, explaining that “the agency has lost continuity of knowledge about the production and inventory of centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water and uranium ore concentrate.”

Read more in Foreign Policy here.

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