Skip to content
The Editors

Biden Should Show Iran What ‘Plan B’ Looks Like

With time running out to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the US needs to make clear the consequences of letting talks collapse. 

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi says the clock is ticking.

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi says the clock is ticking.

Photographer: Michael Gruber/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s administration has said for months that there would come a time when the benefits of reviving the Iran nuclear deal no longer outweighed the costs. That cutoff point, whether US officials admit it or not, may now be weeks away. While diplomacy shouldn’t be abandoned, the US should be using this time to show Iran and its backers what the alternative will look like.

Iran has provoked this crisis. Its stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been investigating nuclear material found at several undeclared sites, prompted a dramatic rebuke last week: Thirty countries voted to censure Iran for its intransigence, with only Russia and China dissenting. Iran has retaliated by removing nearly half of the cameras monitoring its nuclear facilities while announcing plans to install more advanced centrifuges. The IAEA says if the cameras aren’t reconnected within a month, inspectors will no longer be able to verify key details about Iran’s production of nuclear material and equipment.