A US intelligence report released this week found that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon, but that it is strengthening capabilities that would make it easier for Tehran to do so.
A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released on Monday said that while Iran has not directly attempted to make a nuclear bomb, it has expanded its capacity to do so since 2020 following the US withdrawal. from the joint comprehensive plan. of action (JCPOA) in 2018.
“Iran is not currently undertaking the major nuclear weapons development activities that would be required to produce a testable nuclear device,” the ODNI said in a two-page synopsis of the report.
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Though the report also found that Iran is expanding its “research and development activities that would bring it closer to producing the fissile material needed to complete a nuclear device following a decision to do so”.
The findings are consistent with reports from the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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These activities mean that Iran is still in violation of the 2015 JCPOA, even though Iran claims the agreement was nullified after the US pulled out under the Trump administration.
The Biden administration has made it a top priority to revert to the 2015 deal or strike a new deal to stop Iran from further developing its nuclear capabilities, though many Republicans on the Hill oppose any nuclear deal with Iran and the negotiations have been deadlocked for months. .
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“Iran continues to increase the size and level of enrichment of its uranium stockpile beyond JCPOA limits,” the report said.
The ODNI also pointed to Iran’s continued development of its ballistic missile program — used by former President Trump to justify his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA — noting that it remains a major threat to regional countries , like Israel.
“Iran has placed emphasis on improving the accuracy, lethality and reliability of its missiles,” the ODNI said.
Iran successfully launched a ballistic missile in May that can travel a distance of some 2,000 kilometers while carrying a 3,300-pound nuclear warhead.
The further development of the ballistic missile program is in direct violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Though Tehran has vowed to continue its ballistics program as a matter of defense and to promote what it believes will ensure regional stability.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.