Ex-US Intel Officer: Iran Unlikely to Seek Nukes Despite Suspending JCPOA

© AP Photo / ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, FileIn this Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, Iran's heavy water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran
In this Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, Iran's heavy water nuclear facility is backdropped by mountains near the central city of Arak, Iran - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Iran will likely avoid taking steps towards making a nuclear weapon that could provide the United States with a pretext to launch a military attack, former US National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, Paul Pillar, told Sputnik.

Earlier in the day, one year after the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran announced that it had discontinued some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and gave other parties 60 days to ensure Iran’s interests were protected, or see the country resuming higher levels of uranium enrichment.

"Iran may exceed JCPOA limits during the months ahead but is unlikely to take the kind of steps toward making a nuclear weapon that would provide a clearer rationale for a US military attack", Pillar, who is also a former CIA analyst, said on Wednesday.

READ MORE: US to Resort to Use of Force if Iran Blocks Strait of Hormuz – Ex-CIA Officer

Hardliners driving US policy at the moment, Pillar added, will look for any excuse to bomb Iran even without clear and major provocation.

(File) In this Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 photo, an Iranian coal miner pushes a metal cart loaded with coal at a mine near the city of Zirab 212 kilometers (132 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran, on a mountain in Mazandaran province, Iran - Sputnik International
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Tehran's move, Pillar added, is a direct result of the Trump administration's reneging on JCPOA commitments, blatant flouting of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, and a yearlong campaign of inflicting economic pain on Iran, despite the fact it has observed its commitments under the deal.

During the 60-day period, Pillar said, the signatories to the JCPOA must redouble efforts to implement ways for Iran to enjoy the benefits of normal commerce despite US pressure.

The Europeans have taken some steps in this direction but they have simply have not been enough, Pillar said. "Over the longer term, saving the JCPOA will require the American electorate to turn Trump out of office in 2020", Pillar concluded.

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the opening ceremony of the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, May 1, 2019 - Sputnik International
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On 8 May 2018, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reinstate wide-ranging sanctions on Tehran, including secondary sanctions against companies and financial institutions of countries that do business with the Islamic Republic. Iran, China, Germany, France, Russia, the UK and EU reaffirmed their commitment to the deal after the United States exited.

Washington also vowed to drive Iran's oil exports down to zero and demanded that other countries stop any such purchases.

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