The emerging deal with Iran over its disputed nuclear program appears headed toward limiting the time it would take the Islamic republic to make a bomb, a pact unlikely to satisfy members of Congress who seek to end Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon altogether.
U.S. diplomats met Wednesday in Vienna with Iran and other world powers to begin writing the text of a final deal. While the sides remain far apart on several issues, it seems the Obama administration is discussing an Iranian nuclear program that would retain capabilities that could be used to produce a weapon sometime in the future.
"The Iranians will have some kind of enrichment capacity" at the end of negotiations, "which means they can essentially breakout in a period of time of their choosing," said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who's advised the administration on Iran sanctions.
Dubowitz said a six-to-12 month breakout window is "exactly what they're going for." The longer window would give the United States more time to discover what Iran is doing and mobilize to stop it should it decide to cheat on a deal.