The Iranian government agreed to curb its uranium enrichment under the interim agreement that went into effect Monday, but that’s a just small beginning to larger steps it would likely need to take as part of a long-term deal.
That’s the assessment in the report from the Institute for Science and International Security released Monday. The ISIS based its conclusions on talks with senior U.S. officials.
According to the report, the Iranian government would likely have to make a number of modifications including:
Shifting the under-construction, heavy-water reactor in Arak to a light-water reactor. The reactor — which has been a source of tension between the Iranian government and Western officials — would enrich below 5 percent for isotope uranium 235. Uranium 235, if enriched enough, can be used in a weapon.
Not stockpiling enriched uranium beyond what is needed for a peaceful civilian program.
For at least 20 years, limiting its enrichment to one nuclear site and shutting down its current site at Fordow, or converting it to a “non-centrifuge-related site.” Centrifuges are a key part of the uranium-enrichment process.
Centrifuges will be limited; and excess centrifuges will be removed from nuclear sites at Natanz and Fordow. The International Atomic Energy Agency will be responsible for monitoring the centrifuges.
For at least 20 years, caps should be placed on the amount of 20 percent low-enriched uranium oxide that Iran possesses. The material can easily be converted to hexafluoride, needed to create fuel for an atomic bomb.
Some of the provisions are measured on a 20-year timeline because, according to the report, that is the minimum amount of time the international community needs to feel confident in treating Iran like other non-nuclear countries that follow the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who leads ISIS, told The Wall Street Journal — which was given exclusive access to the report — “Our requirements are a far cry from what Iran wants. The negotiations are going to be really tough. We don’t see ourselves as sketching an extreme case, however.”
The report comes as the IAEA announced Iran has agreed to an inspection schedule of its nuclear facilities, slowed construction on the Arak heavy-water reactor, and begun using centrifuges previously used to enrich uranium to 20 percent for 5-percent enriched uranium.
Officials have said talks at reaching a long-term deal on Iran’s nuclear program could start next month.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama has said he’ll nominate John King to fill out the last few months of Obama’s presidency as Secretary of Education. King has been in an acting secretary role since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. The White House is pressuring the Senate to act quickly on the nomination.
Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t taking this whole superdelegate thing lying down. Despite a tie a blowout win against Hillary Clinton, Sanders trails her by some 350 delegates in the overall count, thanks mostly to superdelegates pledging to support her. His backers have taken to creating a MoveOn.org petition to pressure the superdelegates to be flexible. It reads: “Commit to honoring the voters—let everyone know that you won’t allow your vote to defeat our votes. Announce that in the event of a close race, you’ll align yourself with regular voters—not party elites.” So far it’s attracted 162,000 signatures. Related: At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver notes that in 2008, Clinton had a 154-50 superdelegate advantage over President Obama when New Hampshire voted. But “by the time Clinton ended her campaign on June 7, 2008, Obama had nearly a 2-to-1 superdelegate advantage over her,” owing in part to many pledged delegates who switched their support to Obama.
House Speaker Paul Ryan today is trying to convince his large but divided conference that they need to pass a budget under regular order. “Conservatives are revolting against higher top-line spending levels negotiated last fall by President Obama and Ryan’s predecessor, then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). GOP centrists are digging in on the other side, pledging to kill any budget that deviates from the two-year, bipartisan budget deal.” Ryan’s three options are to lower the budget numbers to appease the Freedom Caucus, “deem” a budget and move on to the appropriations process, or “preserve Obama-Boehner levels, but seek savings elsewhere.”
“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).