Nuclear Issue

  • 2021-01-19

    Of all the pressing issues in the volatile Middle East, the most pressing for the Biden administration will be Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Joe Biden pledged to rejoin the landmark nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the six major world powers in 2015. “If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” he wrote in an op-ed for CNN in September 2020. But rejoining the nuclear agreement will not be easy. The Islamic Republic continued to comply with its obligations for more than a year after President Donald Trump abandoned it in May 2018. In July 2019, Tehran began breaching the agreement. Iran’s breaches had been largely incremental and calibrated until the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top nuclear scientist, on November 27.

  • 2021-01-19

    Although reviving the agreement is certainly still possible, it won’t be easy. The two sides will need to overcome nine hurdles to make it happen. […] Despite these hurdles, Biden should nevertheless seek a reentry into the deal. Only a clean and full implementation by all parties can save the world’s most comprehensive nuclear agreement, contain rising US-Iran tensions, and open the path toward more confidence building measures. That path should include, upon Biden’s issuing an executive order to rejoin the JCPOA, the creation of a working committee of parties to the agreement tasked with ensuring full compliance by all signatories, and a forum, organized by the UN secretary general, in which Iran and the Gulf countries can discuss a new structure for improving security and cooperation in the region.

  • 2021-01-15

    The era of U.S. “maximum pressure” may be drawing to an end. At this juncture lies promise as well as peril: reviving U.S.-Iran diplomatic engagement on the JCPOA’s original basis could restore the agreement’s considerable non-proliferation benefits, revive contacts that withered under the Trump administration, and offer at least the prospect of discussing issues outside the nuclear file in a constructive rather than adversarial manner. For either side to subject such diplomacy to leverage-focused one-upmanship and additional demands would be a recipe for deadlock that is as predictable as it is avoidable. Instead, Iran should return to full compliance with its JCPOA commitments in exchange for a swift U.S. re-entry into the deal and lifting of Trump-era sanctions imposed in contravention of the accord. Such concerted forward movement should guide the two sides toward a clean revival of the existing JCPOA framework. But there are risks: in Iran’s case, failure to reasonably engage with the Biden administration could sap what international sympathy it has won as the aggrieved party following the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement. Were Iran to proceed with further nuclear provocations, it might find itself seen by not just the U.S. but also the E3 as the unreasonable party. For Washington and the P4+1, with Iran’s June presidential polls looming, it is vital to deliver the financial dividends that Tehran, with some justification, sees as the unrealised return for its own nuclear commitments and JCPOA compliance prior to U.S. “maximum pressure”. Rouhani’s departure may not prove fatal to diplomacy, but there is no reason not to seize the opportunity between now and then to make as much progress as possible.

  • 2021-01-14

    In his televised speech that was delivered on January 8, 2021, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution discussed the issue of the JCPOA. He said, “We do not at all insist on the return of the US to the JCPOA, and we are in no rush for them to do so… Our reasonable, logical demand is that sanctions be lifted. This is a right that has been taken away from the Iranian nation.” This is the position stated by Imam Khamenei as being the final, definitive word of the Islamic Republic. With regard to this “definitive word,” KHAMENEI.IR has conducted an interview with Dr. Muhammad Javad Zarif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and one of the members of the Supervisory Board for the Implementation of the JCPOA, in order to clarify the Islamic Republic’s position on sanctions and the nuclear deal.

  • 2021-01-14

    Tehran told the UN nuclear watchdog Wednesday that it was advancing research on uranium metal production, in what would be a fresh breach of the limits in Iran's 2015 deal with world powers. The latest move, which adds to pressure on US President-Elect Joe Biden just days before his inauguration, concerns Iran's plans to conduct research on uranium metal production at a facility in the city of Isfahan.  The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement that "Iran informed the Agency in a letter on 13 January that modification and installation of the relevant equipment for the mentioned R&D activities have been already started'". Iran says the research is aimed at providing advanced fuel for a research reactor in Tehran.

  • 2021-01-13

    Israeli intelligence believes that from the moment Tehran decides to break out to a nuclear bomb, it will take it two years to complete the process. This is a fairly optimistic scenario, but is it justified? Does Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment to a level of 20 percent influence the timetable? This article calculates the possibilities

  • 2021-01-09

    A group of more than 50 international relations and Middle East experts have signed onto a letter urging President-elect Joe Biden to swiftly return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The experts on Iran international relations and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons voiced full support to the Biden administration’s commitment to abandon Trump’s failed policy toward Iran and his campaign of maximum pressure and returning the US to diplomacy and adherence to the JCPOA, the letter said. Full text of the letter reads as follows: ...

  • 2021-01-08

    In the remaining two weeks with President Donald Trump in power, Iran is sending strong messages to the United States of America, and in particular to both the current President and to the President-elect Joe Biden, by launching a two-day exercise involving domestically produced drones in central Semman province, and by increasing its enriched Uranium purity to 20 per cent. The first message is directed at Trump’s “maximum pressure” sanctions and his orders to send two B-52S bombers, the USS Georgia submarine and the Nimitz carrier to the Persian Gulf. Iran challenged Trump, counting on the fact that he will no longer launch a war in his last weeks of office and demonstrating that, at any rate, Tehran is not afraid, and determined to face whatever is the result. The second message to Biden is an ultimatum for his new administration to respect the nuclear deal (signed in 2015 and rejected by Trump in 2018) as it is. Iran’s return to 20 per cent Uranium supports Biden if he is sincere in returning to the nuclear deal and helps overwhelm all voices contesting the respect of the JCPOA. Otherwise, Iran will continue its enrichment and its nuclear capability with resolve. This is far from being a souk for bartering or selling carpets, where negotiation would be possible. Iran is setting the rules with only two choices for Biden: take the nuclear deal as it was signed in 2015, or leave it. 

  • 2021-01-08

    Although the Supreme Leader left room for Biden to return to the nuclear deal and dialed down the vengeful rhetoric, his main message was that Iran cannot trust Washington when it comes to economic matters, security issues, or even coronavirus vaccines.

  • 2021-01-06

     The Biden administration not only inherits a country where COVID-19 is surging and jobs are haemorrhaging, but he also takes over a perilous global landscape when it comes to nuclear arms control and disarmament. The Trump years saw the dissolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (i.e. the Iran nuclear deal) and the Open Skies Treaty. President Trump has not extended New START, the last remaining arms control treaty, leaving 16 days for the new administration to work out an extension before the treaty expires. 

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