The White House warned Tuesday that Iran is only weeks from a nuclear “breakout” and the Trump administration is to blame.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the time in which Iran could build a nuclear weapon is “down to a matter of weeks.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed the secretary of state’s remarks, saying, “Their breakout period is down from about a year, which is what we knew it was during the deal, to just a few weeks or less.”
Psaki added that this fact “definitely worries us,” the Times of Israel reported.
The breakout period is the amount of time it will take Iran to accumulate enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
“If we go back, under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear program was tightly constrained,” she said. “Since the Trump administration ceased US participation in the deal, Iran has rapidly accelerated its nuclear program.”
“That is a direct impact of pulling out of the nuclear deal, making us less safe, giving us less visibility, and it’s one of the reasons we pursued a diplomatic path again,” Psaki said, referring to Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal in 2018.
Earlier this week, senior Israeli officials were cited as saying that the Biden administration is closer than ever to admitting the talks in Vienna to return to the nuclear deal with Iran have failed permanently.
Washington “is much more willing these days, then it was in the past” to announce defeat, Western diplomats and Israeli officials told the Kan public broadcaster.
Talks to revive the tattered deal in Vienna have been at an impasse for six weeks, apparently over Iran’s demand Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the terror list.
According to Kan, the Iranians wanted the deal to happen, but the U.S. said “raised demands,” which Tehran refused.
“The possibility that the parties will sign an agreement in the foreseeable future is dwindling at an exponential rate,” an official told Israel Hayom.
According to an Axios report on Monday, the Biden administration “has recently started discussing a scenario” which won’t include a renewed deal.
Amichai Stein, a journalist from Kan, tweeted: “In Israel, as is well known, they prefer no agreement. And for a long period Israeli officials have told officials the Biden administration that Iran should be pressured in other ways. However, it is not known when will US go to Plan B even if the talks fail.”
Meanwhile, Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata met with his U.S. counterpart Jake Sullivan on Monday in Washington.
Sullivan told Hulata “the United States is attuned to Israel’s concerns about threats to its security, including first and foremost from Iran and Iranian-backed proxies,” a statement said.
In a phone call with President Joe Biden on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett again called on the U.S. not to remove the Revolutionary Guards from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
“Israel has clarified its position on the issue: The IRGC is the largest terrorist organization in the world,” a statement from Bennett’s office said.
On Monday, Iran called for a new meeting with world powers.
“It is appropriate that a face-to-face meeting is held as soon as possible,” Iran foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told his weekly press conference. “It is not yet decided where and when to have this meeting and at what level it should be held, but it is on the agenda.”
“It is clear that if the U.S. had given the right answers to the remaining issues… everyone would have been in Vienna by now,” said Khatibzadeh.