Iran would be crazy if they were NOT trying to develop nukes.
Iran is closer to a bomb than ever before. Is a new nuclear deal possible? Here’s everything you need to know:
What is Iran’s nuclear status?
Iran doesn’t have nukes yet, but it is close to being able to build them. Since the Trump administration withdrew in 2018 from the 2015 nuclear deal — which brought U.N. nuclear inspections in exchange for sanctions relief — Iran has drastically increased the pace of its pursuit. It is currently about a month away from producing enough fuel for a weapon, although constructing a warhead and mounting it on a missile would take much longer. Some experts believe the country may be trying to become a “threshold state,” able to build nukes whenever it decides to go all-out, while others think it is merely seeking leverage in negotiations to force the U.S. to return to the deal and lift sanctions. The original pact, between Iran and a group of world powers, restricted Iran to enriching uranium to just 4 percent potency, enough to run a nuclear power plant but far from the 90 percent required for a bomb. Now it has reportedly reached 60 percent, even as new President Ebrahim Raisi says his administration is willing to negotiate.
Who is Raisi?
Raisi, 60, is an ultra-conservative protégé of 82-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and a top candidate to succeed him as Supreme Leader. His black turban signals that he is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. A student protester when the Islamic Revolution broke out in 1979, he rose quickly to become a Tehran prosecutor and served on one of the four-judge panels, known as Death Committees, that retried several thousand dissident prisoners and condemned them to execution. Raisi took office in August after a low-turnout election heavily rigged in his favor, in which reformist candidates were barred from running. He immediately took a tough line against the U.S., saying at the U.N. last month that the “U.S. hegemonic system has no credibility” and that U.S. sanctions against Iran amount to “crimes against humanity.”