Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran. The agreement’s goal is to allow Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear research without developing weapons making capabilities. Participants in the agreement, finalized in Vienna on 14 July 2015, include Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union. Last month, as reported by Science, President Trump declared that the JCPOA is not in the United States’s national interest. The U.S. Congress now has 60 days to reevaluate it.

One provision of JCOPA provided a path for Iran to join the multi-billion euro ITER fusion project in a limited capacity. Iran wants to train doctoral students at ITER. The country’s ITER representative, plasma physicist Mahmood Ghoranneviss, says Iran hopes its limited involvement would, in a few years, blossom into full membership. Such a step could infuse considerable cash into the ITER experiment.

These steps against Iran by the current U.S. government may have particular interest to LPP Fusion. The Focus Fusion 1 (FF-1) dense plasma focus (DPF) machine being built by LPP Fusion has been the center of collaboration with an Iranian research institution. The Plasma Physics Research Center in Tehran has cooperated with LPP Fusion studying plasma characteristics in DPF machines. It would be tragic if research into peaceful scientific fusion applications were subverted by the ongoing evaluation over JCPOA.