Although the Biden administration committed to re-entering a nuclear deal that would be longer and stronger than the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) put into place in 2015, senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Richard Goldberg said “the deal under consideration is shorter and weaker.”
After months of indirect negotiations between American, European and Iranian diplomats, the proposed framework differs from that of the JCPOA on four key principles: breakout time, nuclear restrictions, a cap on uranium enrichment capabilities and international sanctions.
The 2015 JCPOA claimed to put Tehran’s breakout time—the time required to enrich fissile material to the level required to construct a bomb—a year away for at least a decade. In championing the benefits of the JCPOA, then-President Barack Obama claimed that a key gain was “13,14,15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year.”
Under the new deal, however, the JCPOA’s terms permitting Iran to retain its advanced centrifuges would carry over, meaning that Tehran’s breakout time would be significantly reduced because the sunset clauses have not changed since the 2015 deal.
In an Aug. 26 conversation with president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America Michael Makovsky, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer explained that “the deal is so bad because it has these sunset clauses, clauses by which the restrictions expire, and Iran then has no restrictions on its nuclear program.” Because the new deal fails to extend these clauses, the timeline has not moved, said Dermer. He noted that “restrictions on Iran’s ballistic-missile program are set to conclude next year.”
JINSA says the new breakout time would be 4.8 to 6.5 months until early 2026. According to JINSA’s vice president for policy Blaise Misztal and director of foreign policy Jonathan Ruhe, “a new deal will be twice as bad as the original JCPOA, delaying Iran’s nuclear program by only half as much and for only half as long.”