According to an Axios report, senior US intelligence officials fear that Iran will reduce its nuclear program to the levels of the 2015 Iran deal before another round of negotiations.
On Monday, the United States, China and other European powers met with Iranian negotiators in Vienna, Austria, to resume another round of talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The Vienna negotiations will be the seventh round of meetings between the countries.
According to Axios:
Senior Biden officials are deeply concerned that Iran is going too far in its current nuclear development, making it too late to return to the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), sources say close to internal administration discussions.
Officials are said to be worried because Iranian scientists cannot unlearn any of the knowledge gained after developing advanced nuclear technology.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran Accord, was negotiated by the Obama administration, members of the UN Security Council and former Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani. However, according to Axios, the new Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, sees Rouhanui as “an accommodating weakling who negotiated a bad deal with the United States and other world powers.”
In 2018, former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal with Iran after promising to do so during the election campaign. Trump sharply criticized former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry for negotiating the deal.
After the withdrawal of the United States, Iran continued to develop its nuclear program. Iran has consistently violated the terms of the Iran deal, which prohibited Iran from exceeding 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium. At one point, Iran asserted that it had the “right” to violate the agreement at will.
A spokesperson for the US State Department said, “We have made it clear that Iran’s continued nuclear escalation is not constructive and inconsistent with its stated goal of returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA.