Current Nuclear Weapons Development

Josh_TN

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i believe Iran has announced it has 55lbs of 60% purified Uranium. That’s at least enough for a bomb or three of fairly simple design. A couple months effort would probably get them there.

How much further they take it will be interesting- at some point Israel will step in if the US doesn’t first. Had JCPOA been maintained, things probably would have been fine. As it is I think a war is now inevitable.
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc

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And now yesterday:

 

sferrin

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Well, the root cause is spelled out pretty clearly:

Bloomberg said:
While the IAEA isn’t a formal party to the nuclear deal, its inspectors are supposed to provide the guarantees that Iran is abiding by its part of the bargain. That job became more difficult starting in 2018 after then President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S.

Facing new U.S. penalties that choked its economy, Iran retaliated by breaking limits on uranium enrichment and restricting IAEA access to some of its facilities. One of the central features of the JCPOA had been the unprecedented access it gave to international monitors.
Oh, right. It's the Orange Demon's fault.
 

Josh_TN

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The previous administration withdrew from JCPOA and no other mechanism or policy was introduced in its place outside 'maximum pressure' (renewed US sanctions). And here we are. Israel will probably take action before the US does, since they have a lot more skin in the game.
 

sferrin

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The previous administration withdrew from JCPOA and no other mechanism or policy was introduced in its place outside 'maximum pressure' (renewed US sanctions). And here we are. Israel will probably take action before the US does, since they have a lot more skin in the game.
The agreement was a joke. Also, the US isn't the World Police (or so I keep hearing). What's Europe doing?
 

bobbymike

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The previous administration withdrew from JCPOA and no other mechanism or policy was introduced in its place outside 'maximum pressure' (renewed US sanctions). And here we are. Israel will probably take action before the US does, since they have a lot more skin in the game.
The agreement was a joke. Also, the US isn't the World Police (or so I keep hearing). What's Europe doing?
The funny thing is people still think there’s some “mechanism” or piece of paper that will prevent Iran from wanting and eventually getting nukes.
 

Josh_TN

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The previous administration withdrew from JCPOA and no other mechanism or policy was introduced in its place outside 'maximum pressure' (renewed US sanctions). And here we are. Israel will probably take action before the US does, since they have a lot more skin in the game.
The agreement was a joke. Also, the US isn't the World Police (or so I keep hearing). What's Europe doing?
Europe was part of JCPOA. The agreement prevented Iran from having a nuclear capability and the assessment of the US IC and IAEA was that Iran was abiding by the agreement, so I disagree that it was 'a joke'. If the only true solution is a war with Iran, then the last administration dropped that ball as well.
 

sferrin

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The previous administration withdrew from JCPOA and no other mechanism or policy was introduced in its place outside 'maximum pressure' (renewed US sanctions). And here we are. Israel will probably take action before the US does, since they have a lot more skin in the game.
The agreement was a joke. Also, the US isn't the World Police (or so I keep hearing). What's Europe doing?
Europe was part of JCPOA. The agreement prevented Iran from having a nuclear capability and the assessment of the US IC and IAEA was that Iran was abiding by the agreement, so I disagree that it was 'a joke'. If the only true solution is a war with Iran, then the last administration dropped that ball as well.
So. . .what, Europe can't be in the JCPOA if the US isn't? Why didn't Europe negotiate an agreement of their own?
 

totoro

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Europe tried to keep the door open for a new agreement, through continued economic cooperation, which was number one condition Iran had, but US didn't really let Europe to do that. Europe didn't make another deal because of the US threats that any company, be it European or not, that did business with Iran would be punished. That also included any trading attempted through the specially devised INSTEX mechanism, which Europe at one point devised to try to avoid going against the US sanctions. But the US government would have none of that, and effectively sanctioned not just Iran but literally anyone trying to do business with Iran.
 

Trident

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The funny thing is people still think there’s some “mechanism” or piece of paper that will prevent Iran from wanting and eventually getting nukes.

JCPOA as it originally functioned could make a credible claim to be just such a thing - all the objective evidence showed that it was working. Even US government agencies openly stated that Iran was complying, only the Trump admin judged it was not enough (without ever spelling out what "enough" entailed in their view). Now that US withdrawal has brought the treaty to collapse, the very notion has been dealt a severe and lasting blow, of course. It has called US reliability as a partner into serious question, and with it the worth of entering into similar agreements in future.

You have to hand it to John Bolton - between abrogating ABM (the resulting developments demonstrating that US informal assurances are useless) and exiting JCPOA (showing that even formal agreements cannot be trusted), it's hard to see how he could have, essentially single-handedly, done even more damage than he in fact did.*

So. . .what, Europe can't be in the JCPOA if the US isn't? Why didn't Europe negotiate an agreement of their own?

Europe was party to JCPOA (which is technically still in force) from the start and remained so after the US withdrew, trying its damnedest to keep the agreement alive and hence Iran's nuclear programme contained. However, as totoro has pointed out already, US sanctions were structured in a way that sabotaged any such attempts, because they effectively hold European companies' economic livelihoods hostage. By threatening penalties on its activities in the US against any entity doing business with Iran, they scuppered European efforts to uphold the Western end of the JCPOA deal.

If you force a typical private enterprise to chose one or the other between serving the US or the Iranian market there can be only one outcome. So although the European (and, for a long time, Iranian) governments were willing to continue honouring the deal, the inability of businesses to cooperate eventually rendered it untenable. Not condoning the Iranian escalatory moves which followed, but they don't alter the clear cause and effect relationship.

*EDIT: Actually, I can, come to think of it - and Trump does deserve *some* credit in this instance. He apparently declined to escalate the tensions in the wake of the Soleimani assassination into a full-scale war against Iran. Then again, limited plaudits for defusing a crisis that your own actions brought about in the first place.
 
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sferrin

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The funny thing is people still think there’s some “mechanism” or piece of paper that will prevent Iran from wanting and eventually getting nukes.

JCPOA as it originally functioned could make a credible claim to be just such thing - all the objective evidence showed that it was working. Even US government agencies openly stated that Iran was complying, only the Trump admin judged it was not enough (without ever spelling out what "enough" entailed in their view). Now that US withdrawal has brought the treaty to collapse, the very notion has been dealt a severe and lasting blow, of course. It has called US reliability as a partner into serious question, and with it the worth of entering into similar agreements in future.

You have to hand it to John Bolton - between abrogating ABM (the resulting developments demonstrating that US informal assurances are useless) and exiting JCPOA (showing that even formal agreements cannot be trusted), it's hard to see how he could, essentially single-handedly, have done even more damage than he in fact did.

So. . .what, Europe can't be in the JCPOA if the US isn't? Why didn't Europe negotiate an agreement of their own?

Europe was party to JCPOA (which is technically still in force) from the start and remained so after the US withdrew, trying its damnedest to keep the agreement alive and hence Iran's nuclear programme contained. However, as totoro has pointed out already, US sanctions were structured in a way that sabotaged any such attempts, because they effectively hold European companies' economic livelihoods hostage. By threatening penalties on its activities in the US against any entity doing business with Iran, they scuppered European efforts to uphold the Western end of the JCPOA deal.

If you force a typical private enterprise to chose one or the other between serving the US or the Iranian market there can be only one outcome. So although the European (and, for a long time, Iranian) governments were willing to continue honouring the deal, the inability of businesses to cooperate eventually rendered it untenable. Not condoning the Iranian escalatory moves which followed, but they don't alter the clear cause and effect relationship.
Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.
 

Arjen

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Negotiations to revive JCPOA started in early 2021, with the seventh round starting November 29. Delegations from Iran, Germany, France, UK, China and Russia are participating. So far, Iran insists on all US sanctions imposed during the previous US administration to be lifted. That has not happened yet.
 

sferrin

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Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.

His sanctions are not, however. And what that means for any attempts at economic engagement with Iran has been spelled out twice already.
Biden could certainly lift them. Personally, where Iran continued developing it's ballistic missile technology, I don't see the point of continuing to give Iran billions. Yes, the agreement was for the nukes but I never got the impression Iran was just letting inspectors go wherever they pleased whenever they pleased.
 

Desertfox

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Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.

His sanctions are not, however. And what that means for any attempts at economic engagement with Iran has been spelled out twice already.
Biden could certainly lift them. Personally, where Iran continued developing it's ballistic missile technology, I don't see the point of continuing to give Iran billions. Yes, the agreement was for the nukes but I never got the impression Iran was just letting inspectors go wherever they pleased whenever they pleased.
You're impression is just that an impression. New START doesn't let inspectors go wherever they want whenever they want, and it works just fine. There are also other national technical means of verification outside of IAEA inspectors...
 

Trident

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Negotiations to revive JCPOA started in early 2021, with the seventh round starting November 29. Delegations from Iran, Germany, France, UK, China and Russia are participating. So far, Iran insists on all US sanctions imposed during the previous US administration to be lifted. That has not happened yet.

Yes, which is why I found those Iranian moves so counterproductive (even if the exasperation which drove them is rather understandable). Had it resisted the impulse, the pressure of public perception on the US to remove all sanctions without preconditions would be that much higher. As it stands, I can see why you'd want Iran to *also* undo its own breaches before returning to the agreement in full. On balance, the fact that it was the US which triggered the whole spiral I think places the onus on it to initiate a rapprochement nonetheless.

You're impression is just that an impression. New START doesn't let inspectors go wherever they want whenever they want, and it works just fine. There are also other national technical means of verification outside of IAEA inspectors...

It has to be said the access under JCPOA was quite remarkable nevertheless. I doubt the US nuclear industry is under (or would even tolerate) similar external scrutiny.
 

bobbymike

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Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.

His sanctions are not, however. And what that means for any attempts at economic engagement with Iran has been spelled out twice already.
Biden could certainly lift them. Personally, where Iran continued developing it's ballistic missile technology, I don't see the point of continuing to give Iran billions. Yes, the agreement was for the nukes but I never got the impression Iran was just letting inspectors go wherever they pleased whenever they pleased.
Stop treating them like a normal nation. They’re the biggest sponsors of terrorism in world history. A government of psychopaths.

Crush them economically, cut them off from the global banking system. Then support the next democratic revolution.
 

Bhurki

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Crush them economically, cut them off from the global banking system. Then support the next democratic revolution.
They've already been through one such cycle and are now, for most part, immune to such measures.

They've also witnessed what happens when you try to (or are percieved to) get nukes (Iraq), and also what happens when you actually have them (NoKo) and the deterrance that it brings with it.

So, they're playing it quite safe by leaning on some international engagement (JCPOA at present and China in future) arising due to inconsistency of political direction in powerful countries (US, EU), while at the same time presenting fait accompli at every point of questioning by IAEA.

At the present, it seems highly unlikely that they won't have several test devices by the end of 2022, while covert activities of Israel and US atmost upsetting the timeline no more than a few weeks. Considering the time it takes to set up such 'activities', I think the aggressors will run out of options before Iran runs out of redundancies.
 
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Arjen

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From Wikipedia's JCPOA-page:
After the Iranian regime's arrest of human rights activist Farhad Meysami, the US State Department supported him in a statement. Meysami then wrote a letter sharply criticizing Pompeo and the Trump administration, writing, "I would much rather spend all my life imprisoned by a group of my oppressive and ignorant compatriots and try to correct their wrongdoing through reformist action, than to spend a second submitting to the shame and disgrace of support from those who did not follow through with their obligations and withdrew from the rational and peaceful Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) against all principles of morality and international law, and re-imposed inhumane sanctions which have thrown millions of my fellow Iranians into poverty".
 

Josh_TN

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Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.

His sanctions are not, however. And what that means for any attempts at economic engagement with Iran has been spelled out twice already.
Biden could certainly lift them. Personally, where Iran continued developing it's ballistic missile technology, I don't see the point of continuing to give Iran billions. Yes, the agreement was for the nukes but I never got the impression Iran was just letting inspectors go wherever they pleased whenever they pleased.
Stop treating them like a normal nation. They’re the biggest sponsors of terrorism in world history. A government of psychopaths.

Crush them economically, cut them off from the global banking system. Then support the next democratic revolution.
That rather assumes that the next government would be better and/or democratic. As for crushing them economically, that is what is being attempted, and it is failing. They definitely can achieve a nuclear breakout in 2022 regardless of US sanctions. Whether they do or not probably depends on how serious they take Israel and how much they want that fight. I actually get the impression that they are trying to walk a tight rope of improving their bargaining position vis-a-vis the US while not actually getting to a nuclear capability that would definitely start a direct conflict with Israel. And I think the Biden administration is simply calling the bluff by not making any concessions.
 

Josh_TN

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And I think the Biden administration is simply calling the bluff by not making any concessions.
I guess that's one way of putting it.
Clearly the administration could remove the sanctions if they wanted to. They are consciously deciding to play hard ball with the Iranians. I'm not sure how I feel about that; I suspect there is no deal unless the US makes a concession first and I suspect sans a new JCPOA, we have an Israeli-Iranian war at the minimum. But on the other hand the Iranians have enriched to 60%, so I feel like there should be some kind of immediate concession on their part as well to make a deal work. I think the Iranian position has hardened after their last election cycle and I'm not hopeful that there is a diplomatic resolution to the problem.

I wonder if Hamas and Hezbollah will be onside if Iran retaliated to an Israeli attack or whether they decide the timing is too sub optimal (particularly for Lebanon).
 

Desertfox

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Nothing is stopping Europe from stepping up. Orange Hitler is gone. Go do it.

His sanctions are not, however. And what that means for any attempts at economic engagement with Iran has been spelled out twice already.
Biden could certainly lift them. Personally, where Iran continued developing it's ballistic missile technology, I don't see the point of continuing to give Iran billions. Yes, the agreement was for the nukes but I never got the impression Iran was just letting inspectors go wherever they pleased whenever they pleased.
Stop treating them like a normal nation. They’re the biggest sponsors of terrorism in world history. A government of psychopaths.

Crush them economically, cut them off from the global banking system. Then support the next democratic revolution.
Ah yes the approach that has worked so incredibly well with both Cuba and North Korea!

You want democracy? Then you stick with JCPOA. JCPOA gave the moderate side of the Iranian government a lot of power, however in leaving it, the US had greatly strengthened the hardliners and gave them plenty of ammunition. There was hope in making Iran more moderate, that hope is now gone.
 

Josh_TN

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The Iranians have until the talks end to agree to something at best. If they end with no agreement, the die is cast.
 

sferrin

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At some point the EU is going to have to make a decision with regards to nukes. The UK and France both have strategic nuclear systems, and France has a couple ASMPs (still considered strategic AFAIK) but they're also, almost certainly, meant for national defense, not for the defense of the EU. Especially in the UK's case.
 

kaiserd

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The EU doesn’t have it’s own military forces and it isn’t a military alliance.
So it just doesn’t have decisions to make re: nuclear weapons.
 

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