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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Tehran’s bomb game

Iran claims it is now technically capable of building a nuclear bomb. At the same time, Tehran emphasizes that it has no interest whatsoever. What does that mean?

It sounds like the horror scenario that Western governments have been warning about for years: The Islamic Republic is technically capable of building a nuclear bomb, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, Mohammad Eslami, announced on Monday via the semi-official Fars news agency. Postscript: Tehran does not intend to do this. Two weeks ago, Kamal Kharrazi, ex-foreign minister and influential advisor to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, similarly expressed. What is the truth of the Iranian statements – and what do they mean for the nuclear negotiations? An overview.

1. How close is the Islamic Republic really to building a nuclear bomb?

One thing is certain: Iran has drastically reduced the so-called “breakout time” – the time it needs to produce enough material to build a nuclear bomb. And from more than a year to a few weeks. The nuclear agreement negotiated in Vienna in 2015 (officially: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA) was actually intended to prevent this: It limited Iranian uranium enrichment to 3.65 percent and subjected Tehran to strict controls by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. In return, western sanctions against the Islamic Republic should be dismantled.

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