The Associated Press obtained a previously classified document from a diplomat working closely on the Iran nuclear deal who describes it as an "add-on" to the deal but an "integral part" nonetheless.
Up until its release, the Obama administration has assured us that the nuclear deal is "making us safer," but the document in question doesn't back up that claim. The original deal imposes constraints on Iran for 15 years but the document has revealed that many will be lifted years before then. That means fewer restrictions on the production of uranium, leading to a nuclear bomb in half the time.
According to the document, Iran will be allowed to begin replacing its centrifuges with more advanced machines after only 10 years. Currently, the country is allowed 5,060 centrifuges to produce uranium. Newer machines will produce uranium five times as efficiently, thus more than doubling its enrichment capabilities.
The Obama administration has ensured that Iran would need at least a full year to make enough uranium to produce a nuclear weapon, but the newer machines will produce enough weapons-grade uranium in less time -- six months, maybe less!
The AP notes that U.S. officials have said Iran is only allowed to store so much of the enriched uranium over the 15 years and at only 660 pounds, that's not enough to make a warhead. However, "the easing of restrictions on the number and kind of centrifuges means that once the deal expires, Tehran will be positioned to quickly make enough highly enriched uranium to bring up its stockpile to a level that would allow it to make a bomb in half a year, should it choose to do so," the report adds.
Other assurances that Iran is following the deal, so far, are coming from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is closely monitoring the situation. The agency is taking Iran at its word that it's not interested in nuclear weapons.
Israel isn't so sure and has threatened to strike Iran if ever the country gets too close to manufacturing a weapon.
The AP reports on what else the document covers and what critics are saying:
The deal provides Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for its nuclear constraints. But before going into recess, U.S. Congress last week approved a bill to impose new sanctions for Tehran's continuing development and testing of ballistic missiles, a program the White House says is meant to carry atomic warheads even if it is not part of the nuclear agreement.
It also approved a measure that calls for prohibiting the Obama administration from buying more of Iran's heavy water, a key component in certain nuclear reactors.
The White House has said removing the country's surplus heavy water denies Tehran access to a material that may be stored for potential nuclear weapons production. But critics note that the purchase was made only after Iran exceeded heavy water limits proscribed by the nuclear deal and assert it rewarded Tehran for violating the agreement.