Iran can enrich nuclear material for weapons purposes in three months. This view was expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on February 16.
“The result today is that Iran is much closer to being able to produce nuclear material for weapons than when the agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, JCPOA. – Ed.) was in force. The so-called breakout time that Iran might need to produce weapons-usable nuclear material was increased by a year by the agreement. Now, according to reports, we have three or four months left,” he told NPR.
Blinken stressed that the U.S. will return to the JCPOA if Iran complies with the terms of the agreement, but he believes more long-term and serious agreements in this area need to be worked on. In particular, the new agreement should cover Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as Tehran’s allegedly destabilizing activities in other countries.
The agreement between Iran and a group of states – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany – was signed in 2015 to address the crisis surrounding Tehran’s nuclear developments. Sanctions were lifted from Iran in exchange for not developing a nuclear program.
In 2018, Washington withdrew from the JCPOA, after which it launched a campaign to put economic pressure on Iran by renewing sanctions.
In response, Iran in 2019 announced a phased reduction of its commitments under the agreement, abandoning restrictions on nuclear research. In November 2020, the United States added four individuals and six entities to the sanctions lists on Tehran, and then expanded the sanctions list several more times.