Following the release yesterday of an IAEA report that noted Iran had doubled its enrichment capacity at its underground facility at Fordow, The United States warned Tehran that the window for serious diplomatic talks is limited. White House spokesman, Jay Carney also reiterated that President Barack Obama is determined to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon and added that US officials would know whether Tehran reached breakout capacity. “The window of opportunity to resolve this remains open … but it will not remain open indefinitely,” Carney said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in its latest quarterly report that Iran has now installed at Fordow around 2,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges, compared with around 1,000 in its May report. It also said its ability to inspect the Parchin military base where it suspects nuclear weapons research took place in the past had been “significantly hampered” by a suspected cleanup. The IAEA report comes after talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear programme made little headway after three rounds of talks. Separate talks between the IAEA and Iran in Vienna last weekend were also unsuccessful, with no plans for further meetings.
In related news, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, said he did not know Iran’s nuclear intentions, as intelligence did not reveal intentions, but said it was clear that the “international coalition” applying pressure on Iran “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.” Dempsey said that sanctions against Iran were having an effect, and that they should be given a reasonable opportunity to succeed – reinforcing Washington’s current opposition to a unilateral Israeli strike.
Dempsey also said that an Israeli strike on Iran would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear programme,” echoing comments from an earlier Pentagon Press conference this month.