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A benchmark is a point of reference for comparison, evaluation, and assessment. It is often used in politics as a point of achievement or smaller goal accomplished along the path to accomplishing the overall or larger goal(s).
“The main benchmark by which analysts gauge Iran's ability to produce an atomic bomb is the "breakout" time — the time needed for Iran to produce enough weapons-grade enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. It is currently estimated at a couple of months; under the terms of the deal, that time frame has been extended to at least one year.”
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