By Mick Krever, CNN
It’s “as clear as day” that under any nuclear deal, Iran will continue to enrich fissile material, the former U.S. official on non-proliferation Mark Fitzpatrick told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
“There’s going to be some enrichment at the end of the day of any deal that’s done,” Fitzpatrick said. “Iran is just simply not going to capitulate no matter how many sanctions they face.”
Though the details of on-going nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are scarce, most agree that a deal would include the temporary removal of some economic sanctions in exchange for assurances that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons – though the country would likely still be allowed to enrich uranium for civilian and research use.
Though the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – to which Iran is signatory – allows for nuclear enrichment, numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions have called on Iran to halt all enrichment activity.
Fitzpatrick said he is “unusually optimistic” that the pieces are in place for a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“It’s only an interim deal for six months – it won’t solve the problems that either side has,” Mark Fitzpatrick, Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “But it will be enough to cap the program and to build some confidence toward a longer-term settlement.”
Nuclear talks continue in Geneva even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “exceedingly bad.”
Critics fear that even with a deal, Iran will retain a so-called breakout capability – the potential to flick a switch at any given point and have a bomb within some short amount of time.
“I don’t think that any degree of verification can provide 100 per cent assurance that Iran won’t be able to build a nuclear weapon secretly. But what this interim deal will do will be to double the time that it would take Iran to make a dash for it.”
He said he believes it would take Iran “near to a year” to produce a nuclear weapon, admitted that some calculations are less than that, “maybe a month and a half to be where Iran would be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for one nuclear weapon.”
This potential deal, he said, “would at least double that time.”