Senior U.S. intelligence officials worry Iran will not scale back their nuclear program to 2015 Iran Deal levels ahead of another round of negotiations, according to an Axios report.
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:
Top Biden officials are deeply worried Iran will go too far in its current nuclear development, making it too late to return to the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to sources familiar with internal administration discussions.
Officials are reportedly concerned because Iranian scientists cannot unlearn any knowledge they gain after developing advanced nuclear technology.
The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran Deal, was negotiated by the Obama administration, members of the U.N Security Council, and former Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani. However, according to Axios, the new Iranian leader, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of Rouhanui as “a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers.”
In 2018, former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran Deal after promising to do so on the campaign trail. Trump was highly critical of former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State John Kerry for negotiating the deal.
After the United States’ withdrawal, Iran continued to develop their 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 claimed they had a “right” to violate the deal at their whim.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson said, “We have made clear that Iran’s continued nuclear escalations are unconstructive and inconsistent with its stated goal of returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA.”