White House: Iran Could Have Nuclear Weapons in Weeks
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies on April 26, 2022, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the fiscal 2023 State Department budget request in Washington. (Al Drago/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
By Luca Cacciatore | Tuesday, 26 April 2022 09:03 PM
The White House confirmed a warning issued by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to senators earlier on Tuesday that Iran could obtain a fully developed nuclear weapon in a ''matter of weeks'' as their refining program ''has galloped forward,'' Newsweek reported.
"What Secretary Blinken said during his testimony this morning was that [Iran's] breakout period is down from about a year — which is what we knew it was during the deal — to just a few weeks or less," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing.
Psaki added that the thought of a nuclear-armed Iran ''definitely worries'' the Biden administration.
Both Blinken and Psaki blamed the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 as responsible for accelerating Iran's nuclear program.
"Certainly, that is a direct impact of pulling out of the nuclear deal, making us less safe, giving us less visibility," Psaki said. ''Under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran's nuclear program was tightly constrained and monitored by international inspectors.''
''Since the Trump administration seized U.S. participation in the deal, Iran has rapidly accelerated its nuclear program and reduced cooperation with international inspectors in non-performance of Iran nuclear deal commitments,'' she continued.
The rhetoric comes as the Biden administration seeks to enter the U.S. into another Iran nuclear agreement amid a dispute over whether the new treaty needs to go through the Senate under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, called on Monday for a meeting to restore the original agreement ''as soon as possible.''
''It is not yet decided where and when to have this meeting and at what level it should be held, but it is on the agenda,'' Khatibzadeh said.