WASHINGTON [MENL] — The United States was expected to agree to preserve Iran’s nuclear weapons program, a report said.

The American Enterprise Institute asserted that Washington and its allies have set the stage for what the think tank termed a “bad deal with Iran.” In a report, author Maseh Zarif said Teheran was expected to preserve robust nuclear weapons capability in a deal that abandoned United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Senior administration officials have said that the U.S. will not be roped into a bad deal with Iran,” the report, titled “Opening the Door to a Bad Iranian nuclear deal,” said. “The emerging framework for this week’s discussions over Iran’s nuclear program, however, all but guarantees that a bad deal — one that leaves Iran marching towards a robust nuclear weapons capability and the U.S. without any meaningful assurances — is in the offing.”

The report cited statements by senior U.S. officials that suggested that Washington would approve Iran’s uranium enrichment program. On the eve of the nuclear talks in Geneva on Oct. 15, the U.S. chief negotiator Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said the insistence that Teheran meet its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty represented the “maximalist position.”

“Describing this minimum threshold as a ‘maximalist position’ indicates an Obama administration willingness to surrender and settle for a half-measure at grave cost to American interests,” the report said.

The report said Iran has pursued three elements required for nuclear weapons — acquisition of fissile material, construction of an explosive device and delivery system. Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei was said to have maintained this goal despite the current talks.

“Iran is on a path that will allow it to rapidly build and deploy a sizable atomic arsenal at a time of its choosing,” the report said. “We have no reason to assess that Iran is preparing to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability by verifiably suspending and dismantling its nuclear program.”

The report said any nuclear agreement would be based on Iranian goodwill.

Zarif, an Iranian specialist, pointed to Teheran’s repeated denial of access to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Iran is not preparing to come clean on its weaponization program and provide the IAEA unfettered access to related facilities, personnel, and documents,” the report said. “Activities contributing to weaponization capability, which can be pursued and mastered prior to the acquisition of fissile material, are the easiest for Iran to conceal and the most difficult for us to monitor and assess.”

The report said Iran could conduct nuclear weapons research at underground or small civilian facilities. The IAEA has asserted that Iran’s Shahid Beheshti University was researching neutron transport, required for an atomic chain reaction.

“A deal, as it is currently being framed and discussed, would fall short of the verified suspension and dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” the report said. “It would allow Teheran to retain and continue developing its fissile material production capability and its delivery systems and effectively grant it a pass on its weaponization-related activities. It will put Iran’s leaders in a position to rapidly cross the nuclear threshold at a time of their choosing and it should be recognized for the bad deal that it is.”