According to Global Watchdog, Iran is flaunting serious steps from the 2015 nuclear deal


The international nuclear watchdog agency told the United States Security Council on Tuesday that Iran was pushing its nuclear program forward and making it clear. This will further complicate plans for the future Biden administration, which seeks to get Iran back into compliance 2015 Iranian nuclear deal – and then bring the USA back on board.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tehran had continued to reduce its commitments to the restrictions imposed by the agreement.

The confidential IAEA report from CBS News said that Tehran has started manufacturing equipment for making uranium metal at a plant in Isfahan. Uranium metal can be used to make the core of a nuclear warhead, but it is still unclear when or if Iran could start producing the material.

The 2015 agreement prohibits Iran from producing uranium metals for 15 years and provides additional restrictions for Tehran, which conducts research and development on uranium metals in certain facilities. The IAEA report says Iran is making clear its departure from these commitments.

Tensions between the US and Iran increased


Iran informed the IAEA that “in accordance with Iran’s measures to reduce its obligations” under the nuclear deal, there are “no restrictions” on research and development activities. Tehran claimed its new efforts come under its civilian nuclear program, but efforts to portray the work as peaceful do not negate the violation of the nuclear deal.

The Iranian representative to the IAEA also noted the work in a tweet on Thursday, saying: “Research and development activities related to the development of an improved type of fuel for the Tehran research reactor have started. Natural uranium is primarily used for the production of Uranium metal uses stage. ”

The new Israeli ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, sounded the alarm on Tuesday calling on the nations of the Security Council to “meet urgently to discuss, condemn and develop concrete measures against Iranian nuclear, ballistic and proliferation activities” .

“It is clear and urgent to ensure this [that] A robust embargo on weapons and missile technology against Iran is being maintained and enforced, “said Erdan, who will present President Joe Biden’s mandate shortly after Mr. Biden’s inauguration to serve as Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Naysan Rafati, senior Iranian analyst at the International Crisis Group’s think tank, told CBS News that the IAEA report was “after Tehran’s decision to do so” Increase enrichment to 20% earlier this month, definitely underlines the importance of reversing Iran [nuclear accord] Violations and mitigation of a non-proliferation crisis that has been slowly evolving since 2019. ”

President Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2018 nuclear deal with Iran. Mr Biden and his top national security aides have set out their intentions to re-enter the pact if they can convince Iran to return to compliance. But getting there now looks more difficult than it did back in November when Mr Biden was elected.

Iran insists that the harsh sanctions the Trump administration has put in place since stepping down from the deal be lifted before they return to compliance.

In addition to continued nuclear advances, Iran has continued to exert pressure by openly demonstrating its conventional military capabilities. On Thursday, the second day of a military exercise, a spokesman said Iran had fired a series of surface-to-surface missiles at targets in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

“Enemies should know that any violation and invasion of the Iranian sea borders will be attacked by the cruise missiles from both the coast and the sea,” said Admiral Hamzeh Ali Kaviani, a spokesman for the military exercise.

The latest IAEA report followed Iran’s announcement that it had begun enriching uranium to 20% purity at its Fordo nuclear power plant, an underground facility designed to withstand foreign attacks. Twenty percent is just one technical step away from nuclear weapon levels of around 90%.

Before recent developments, citing Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the deal Iran had enriched uranium by up to 4.5%a breach of the agreement’s limit of 3.67%. Experts say Iran now has enough uranium on hand for at least two nuclear weapons in case it should pursue them. Iran considers its program to be peaceful and has no desire for nuclear weapons.

But as IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi told CBS News, “Once you start enriching and approaching 20% ​​or numbers, the process of enriching your uranium at that level, which is military grade, becomes easier and faster.”

He said the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the international nuclear deal with Tehran had heightened the threat to Iran’s nuclear program. “From that moment on,” he said, “Iran decided to gradually reduce compliance.”

Last week, the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and the UK issued a joint statement saying they were “deeply concerned” that Iran is increasing its uranium enrichment to 20%.

However, Rafati of the International Crisis Group was cautiously optimistic: “If the Biden government seeks renewed engagement with the aim of revitalizing the existing deal, there should be a way of working with Iran and the other parties to the deal to help to reverse the damage fairly quickly. ” . “

“We are at a critical juncture,” a Security Council diplomat told CBS News for a nation involved in the 2015 negotiations. “There is still hope that things can start moving in a different direction as early as February.”

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