President Obama’s Nuclear Deal with Iran was Built on a Lie. The deal is termed the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). The deal was sold to the public and to Congress on the basis of a false claim, that it ensured a minimum of 12 months for Iran to “breakout” (rush to make enough weapon-grade uranium for at least one nuke). This claim was false and always known to be false by the Obama administration, according to a recent report on Iran’s nuclear program by a Washington D.C. think-tank on nuclear proliferation: Institute for Science and International Security
“The exclusion of the initial redeployment of IR-2m centrifuges in U.S. breakout estimates (along with those of some of its allies) appears to have been decided internally, while not flagged publicly, in order to preserve a public 12-month breakout time, a major advertisement of the JCPOA. If initial redeployment of the IR-2m centrifuges is included, the breakout time drops to about 7-8 months. Although this period of time is still substantial, the selling of the JCPOA emphasized achieving a twelve-month breakout time and a more nuanced discussion was not welcome or acknowledged publicly.” [Institute for Science report]
The more advanced IR-2m centrifuges (so-called due to the use of maraging steel) have several times the output of the first-generation IR-1. This suggests that the 1000 IR-2m centrifuges have an output capacity similar to the 5000 centrifuges at Natanz. The use of the IR-2m centrifuges (not currently installed) in any breakout calculation, would decrease the time to break out. It doesn’t decrease it by half, as it takes months to install the 1000 IR-2m units. So the breakout time decreases to just under 8 months.
However, if Iran pushes the limits of JCPOA enforcement, as they are now doing, and continues to enrich more uranium than permitted, at higher levels (greater than 3.67%), Iran can eventually reach a state of being able to breakout in less than 2 months (per the Institute for Science report).
Thus, the JCPOA was built on a lie, that it secured Iran from breaking out in less than 12 months. And now that Iran has broken that agreement, the breakout time is falling.
Worse still, Iran may have a covert uranium enrichment facility. Natanz was originally covert, until it was discovered by the Institute for Science and International Security (@ThegoodISIS) by examining “commercially available” satellite photos. Fordo was built under hundreds of feet of solid rock, so as to be covert and protected from a military strike. And that facility was discovered by U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Iran has wanted a covert facility and has repeatedly tried to make one. There is no reason why Iran would give up on this goal. They may well have constructed a covert facility which has thus far gone undetected. If so, Iran may already have broken out secretly. They may already have nuclear weapons. This explains Iran’s increase in aggressive behavior over the last 6 months. They no longer fear a military strike, as they can use the threat of nuclear retaliation to thwart such a strike.
The Trump administration might already know that Iran has nukes, as president Trump cancelled a military strike with only 10 minutes to go in the countdown to the attack. This happened suddenly, without (a believable) explanation.
What is happening now is that Iran is positioning itself for a second non-covert and larger scale breakout, to add to the nuclear weapon arsenal they already have.