What do right-wingers in both countries actually want to happen in Iran?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

Right wing Israeli politicians such as former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and even centrist politicians like caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid have fulminated against any US renewal of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As with the loony Right wing in the US (increasingly the only Right wing there is), they typically allege that the JCPOA will allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Since the treaty makes it virtually impossible for Iran to develop a nuclear device, this charge literally makes no sense.

israel flag surrounded by USA flags

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian program to enrich uranium for fuel for its Bushehr reactor. It has plans to expand the number of its nuclear power plants.

The way it would make a bomb if its leadership ever decided they wanted to go in that direction would be to run thousands of high-powered centrifuges to enrich the uranium and build up a stockpile of High Enriched Uranium (HEU), which could be further enriched in the thousands of advanced centrifuges, until you got it to 95% enriched. Or, it could modify a heavy water reactor being used to generate electricity so as to turn it into a breeder reactor that quickly allowed the harvesting of fissile material.

The UN and the US put sanctions on Iran, and the carrot the UN Security Council and the Obama administration used to convince Iran to mothball 80% of its nuclear enrichment program was that these sanctions would be lifted and Iran would be integrated into the world economy.

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