Iran Takes Yet More Action To Blow Past Nuclear Restrictions At Natanz: IAEA
At a moment that Israel says it has implemented new plans that will enable it to more effectively launch preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities should Israeli leaders believe the Islamic Republic is on the cusp of nuclear weapons capability, Tehran announced Monday that it continues blowing past prior uranium enrichment limits in place as part of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Reuters is reporting it as a “recent acceleration” of restriction violations at a moment Biden’s prior stated intent to rejoin the JCPOA is faltering while US-led sanctions (put into effect by Trump) are still at their max. It appears part of continued efforts at ratcheting the pressure on Biden to provide immediate sanctions relief, which thus far the new Democratic administration has refused to do until Iran comes back into nuclear compliance.
But at the same time Iran’s boldness in piling on the pressure in the face of a hesitant Biden administration may inadvertently trigger Israeli retaliation.
“Iran has started enriching uranium with a third set of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz, the U.N. nuclear watchdog told its member states on Monday,” Reuters writes. Crucially it was this very facility at Natanz that was subject of a major sabotage attack in July 2020, with most analysts believing Israel was likely behind it – possibly via a major cyberattack.
The UN nuclear watchdog IAEA group issued a statement saying, “On 7 March 2021, the Agency verified at FEP that: Iran had begun feeding natural UF6 into the third cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges.”
“The fourth cascade of 174 IR-2m centrifuges was installed but had yet to be fed with natural UF6; installation of a fifth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges was ongoing; and installation of a sixth cascade of IR-2m centrifuges had yet to begin,” it said further.
This means that Iran is inching closer toward the 90% uranium purity needed to develop a nuclear bomb, but the IAEA statement indicated Iran was still far from that marker, but is daily opening up such a path if it chooses to go to those levels.
Essentially Iran’s position over the past months has been that it’s free to ramp up enrichment at it’s choosing because the US broke the deal (in May 2018) and is thus not in a position to demand conformity. Iran has complained all along that the European signatories have done little to nothing to salvage the JCPOA in the face of Washington’s belligerence and threats of sanctions enforcement.
Mon, 03/08/2021 – 23:45