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Pressure Not Modest Deals Will Deter Nuclear Iran, Expert Says

Nuclear proliferation expert David Albright has told Iran International that military pressure, not “modest deals”, are needed to keep Iran’s nuclear developments at bay.

Stop Iran Now Via Iran International

June 13, 2023

Speaking in an exclusive interview, the President of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), David Albright, said that in addition to the work being done by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran needs “a credible military threat” to keep convincing the regime not to cross the line to build nuclear weapons.

“It requires real attention, and the United States administration is going to have to continue, and I would say increase its efforts to push Iran away from building nuclear weapons,” he said. As revelations continue about the resumption of US-Iran talks to make progress on the issue of Tehran’s nuclear program, Albright warned of deals which in the long term, may do more harm than good to efforts to disarm the regime.

Both Tehran and Washington have denied negotiating for an interim nuclear deal. “I think they [the Biden administration] can do it [but] I think they're conflicted and I think it's the responsibility of Congress and the public to put pressure on the Biden administration to increase their activities against the Iranian regime and in that process, avoid any deals that may in the short run relieve some of the pressure, but in the long run make the situation worse,” he warned.

David Albright, the founder of the non-governmental Institute for Science and International Security, during an interview with Iran International’s Fardad Farahzad

While he says Iran can be kept in check and believes the regime does not possess secret underground facilities which have evaded the eyes of the IAEA’s inspectors, the US cannot afford to turn away. As it focuses increasingly on China and disengages from the Middle East, it is not a realistic policy in a volatile region which needs constant attention.

“Modest deals to lower the temperature” will not be enough, he said. “The Middle East is complicated … you may want to ignore it but it's not going to ignore you”.

The regime understands that while building nuclear weapons has some positive aspects, it comes with huge risks, and Albright claims the regime is well aware of this, meaning it too must tread carefully.

“I think Iran can be stopped,” he said. “They haven't made the decision to build nuclear weapons. They increased their capabilities to produce weapon grade uranium. If they wanted, they could take the existing stockpiles of 20 and 60% enriched uranium and make enough weapon grade uranium for five nuclear weapons in a month but that doesn't mean they'll do it.”

However, having the fissile material is the first step and within as little as six months to a year, Iran could make a nuclear weapon, meaning the US and its allies must keep the pressure on the regime to ensure it does not cross the line.

Publicly, the US continues to deny any deals or new rounds of talks with Iran, after revelations disclosed meetings in Oman this month. At the State Department press briefing this week, a very uncomfortable spokesman Matthew Miller tried to evade questions pressing him on the nature of talks, which he brushed off as “false” and “misleading”.

However, speaking to the New York Times this week, Ali Vaez, the Iran director for the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organization, said talks are merely an attempt to calm tensions rather than strike a new deal, the goal to “put a lid on any activity that basically crosses a red line or puts either party in a position to retaliate in a way that destabilizes the status quo” and “create time and space to discuss the future diplomacy and the nuclear deal”.

The renewed US focus on Iran’s nuclear program a year after talks broke down comes amid growing concern within the Biden administration that Tehran could precipitate a crisis by further increasing its uranium enrichment.

Former White House Middle East policy advisor, Dennis Ross, told the New York Times: “The US seems to be making clear to Iran that if you go to 90 percent, you’re going to pay a hell of a price.”

“They want the priority and focus to remain on Ukraine and Russia,” he said. “Having a war in the Mideast, where you know how it starts but you don’t know how it ends, that’s the last thing they want.”


About David Albright

David Albright, a physicist, is founder and President of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C. He directs the project work of ISIS, heads its fundraising efforts, and chairs its board of directors. In addition, he regularly publishes and conducts scientific research. He has written numerous assessments on secret nuclear weapons programs throughout the world.

Albright has published assessments in numerous technical and policy journals, including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Science, Scientific American, Science and Global Security, Washington Quarterly, and Arms Control Today. Research reports by Albright have been published by the Environmental Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. and Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies.

Albright has co-authored four books, including the groundbreaking World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium,1992, (SIPRI and Oxford University Press) written in collaboration with Frans Berkhout, of Sussex University, and William Walker, of the University of St. Andrews. A second, greatly-expanded edition entitled Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996: World Inventories, Capabilities and Policies was published in March 1997. Albright is also a co- editor and contributor to Challenges of Fissile Material Control (ISIS Press, 1999) and Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle (ISIS Press, 2000), which one leading expert on North Korea called “the definitive unclassified analysis of the North Korean nuclear program.”

In 2010, Free Press published his book Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies. It was listed by The Atlantic as one of the best foreign affairs books of 2010.

During his career, Albright has testified numerous times on nuclear issues before the U.S. Congress. He has spoken to many groups, technical workshops and conferences, briefed government decision- makers, and trained many government officials in non-proliferation policy making. The media frequently cite Albright, and he has appeared often on television and radio. ANational Journal profile in 2004 called him a “go-to guy for media people seeking independent analysis on Iraq’s WMD programs.”

Albright has been cited often in the media and appeared frequently on television and radio. He has been cited regularly in theNew York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time, Washington Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, London Sunday Times, Guardian, Die Zeit, Ashi Shimbun, Der Spiegel, Stern, and Times of India and by Reuters, Associated Press, AFP and Bloomberg wire services. Albright has also appeared many times on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Nightline and multiple National Public Radio shows.

Albright cooperated actively with the IAEA Action Team from 1992 until 1997, focusing on analyses of Iraqi documents and past procurement activities. In June 1996, he was the first non-governmental inspector of the Iraqi nuclear program. On this inspection mission, Albright questioned members of Iraq’s former uranium enrichment programs about their statements in Iraq’s draft Full, Final, and Complete Declaration. In the spring of 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, he initiated a successful effort to retrieve the only complete set of classified Iraqi documents, hidden since the 1991 Gulf War, about making gas centrifuges to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

From 1990 to 2001, Albright was a member of the Health Advisory Panel appointed by Colorado Governor Roy Romer. The Panel, responsible to the state’s Health Department, oversees a historical assessment of the toxicological and radiological doses received by the population near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production site. On this panel, Albright oversaw the development of ‘source’ terms, which describe the type and amount of dangerous materials that left the plant during daily releases, accidents, or large-scale fires. In 1996, Albright was appointed to the Department of Energy Openness Advisory Panel, which operates under the auspices of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. The panel is charged with reviewing the Department’s Openness

policy, which was started in 1993, with the aim of lifting the veil of Cold War secrecy that has surrounded many of the DOE’s activities without jeopardizing national security. Prior to founding ISIS, he worked as a Senior Staff Scientist at the Federation of American Scientists and as a member of the research staff of Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. In the early 1980s, he taught physics at George Mason University in Virginia. He has served as a consultant or contractor to the Environmental Policy Institute, the Congressional Research Service, the International Task Force on Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He is an American Physical Society (APS) Fellow. He was the 2006 recipient of the APS’s Joseph A. Burton Forum Award. He received a 1992 Olive Branch Award for a series of articles he wrote, along with Mark Hibbs, on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He was also a Bulletin contributing editor and was a guest editor of special editions of the magazine.

Prior to founding ISIS in 1993, Albright was a Senior Staff Scientist at the Federation of American Scientists and a member of the research staff of Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies. In the early 1980s, he taught physics at George Mason University. Albright received a Masters of Science in physics from Indiana University in 1980, a Masters of Science in mathematics from Wright State University in 1977, and a Bachelor of Science from Wright State University in 1975. In addition to the Outstanding Alumni Award, Albright also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wright State University in 2007.

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