February 18, 2015
In the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, the P5+1 appear to have coalesced around one main objective: ensuring that Iran would need at least one year to produce enough fuel for a nuclear weapon using its declared facilities and material in a “breakout” scenario. But when did this objective become the P5+1’s “key red line”? What does a one year...
February 10, 2015
President Barack Obama publicly ruled out another extension of the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran if no agreement on the principles of an accord is reached by late March. Meanwhile, the outlines of the deal now being discussed were reported by the Associated Press on February 3.
February 3, 2015
Iran conducted a successful satellite launch on February 2, sending the Fajr satellite into orbit aboard the Safir rocket. The launch marks Iran’s fourth successful attempt to place a satellite into orbit, but the first since the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. This latest launch once again raises the issue of Iran’s ballistic...
January 27, 2015
The Obama administration sent two top officials to Congress twice in the past week, to defend ongoing nuclear talks with Iran and to argue against two Iran-related bills gaining ground in the Senate. The lobbying effort was partially successful, as Senate Democrats today announced plans to delay a vote on new sanctions until after a late March...
January 20, 2015
The debate over new Iran sanctions heated up last week, as President Barack Obama called for Congress to “show patience,” while Senate leaders finalized language on two sanctions bills. The bill sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) received most of the President’s attention during a January 16 press conference. He...
January 13, 2015
Senate Republicans repeated last week that a vote on new Iran sanctions is top priority. The most likely vehicle will be a bill introduced by Senators Kirk and Menendez in late 2013, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (S. 1881). The bill operates in stages. First, it imposes sanctions. Then, it allows the President to suspend them if he...
January 6, 2015
Nuclear negotiations with Iran assumed a familiar pose in the waning days of December and the first days of 2015: Positive comments by both sides accompanied little progress. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department continued to enforce existing sanctions. New measures announced on December 30 targeted nine entities, including those that have...
December 16, 2014
According to a December 8 report in Foreign Policy, “in recent months” U.S. officials told a U.N. Panel monitoring Iran sanctions that “Iranian government procurement agents have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment” for the heavy water reactor at Arak. This type of reactor is worrisome because of its size and design. It...
December 9, 2014
On December 7, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the recent extension of talks with Iran as a success, and predicted that a final deal could result in "three, four months, and hopefully even sooner.” Kerry may have been trying to fend off calls for the new Congress to increase sanctions at once, instead of waiting for the extension to...
December 2, 2014
Relief was the main reaction to the announcement last week that the nuclear talks with Iran had been extended for another seven months. The main loser was the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran was supposed to explain suspicious research that seemed intended for atomic bombs under an agreement with the Agency. However, Iran has been...