Six years after the US withdrew from the JCPOA, prospects for its resurrection are dim and Tehran is closer than ever to a bomb

By Tom Collina, Responsible Statecraft

Six years after former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the disastrous consequences of this decision are still adding up.

Iranian flag with a missile in the background

In addition to Iran being closer than ever to a nuclear weapons capability, now we must consider how the declining security situation in the Middle East has raised the stakes significantly. Trump promised a “better deal” but instead we got an increasingly costly blunder that may be impossible to fix.

To fully understand the enormity of Trump’s decision to leave the Iran deal, consider this: When the U.S. and Iran were complying with the deal, it was estimated that it would take Iran about one year to produce enough fissile material (in this case, weapons grade uranium) for a nuclear bomb (known as the “breakout” time). The states negotiating with Iran (the United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany) assessed that this would be enough time to respond to possible violations and prevent Iran from producing a bomb. Even if Iran were to acquire sufficient fissile material, it could still take another year for Iran to make a deliverable nuclear weapon. As of May, 2018, the deal was working and considered (by most) to be a great success.

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