Iran’s nuclear program

Iran’s nuclear program
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has announced that it will take Iran just five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment. The comments come in the heels of the US imposing fresh sanctions on the nation

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has announced that it will take Iran just five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment.

The comments come in the heels of the US imposing fresh sanctions on the nation.

Background

United States and Iran do not have any formal diplomatic relations or ties. The two nations share an acrimonious relationship. In 1953, the CIA played a key role in orchestrating a coup against Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadeq. Between 1979 and 1981, a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The 44 hostages were released after 444 days. In 2002, US President, George W Bush, described Iran as being part of the “axis of evil.”

On 2 April 2015, the P5+1 and Iran reached a provisional agreement that sought to lift most of the sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear programs extending for at least ten years. When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities, the UN sanctions were lifted on January 16, 2016.

According to US intelligence, in 2017, Iran successfully tested a space launch vehicle which could be converted into a ballistic missile. As a result, the US imposed sanctions on the nation. US President Donald Trump has also spoken about dismantling the nuclear deal.

Analysis

After the US imposed fresh sanctions, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that Iran would “respond intelligently”. However, Iran has not provided any details on how it would be proceeding to counter the sanctions. As it does not have any diplomatic ties with the US, its options are limited.

Top officials in Iran have been worried about the constant threats Trump has issued regarding the nuclear deal. A number of international companies, such as France’s Total, have already invested millions in the country’s rich oil reserves. If the deal is considered null and void, then those business agreements would be in danger.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in a televised interview has said that the country will be able to ramp up uranium enrichment in the span of just five days. He said, “If there is a plan for a reaction and a challenge, we will definitely surprise them. If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent enrichment in at most five days." He added that the country was against the breakdown of the nuclear deal noting, “Definitely, we are not interested in such a thing happening. We have not achieved the deal easily to let it go so easily. We are committed to the deal, and we are loyal to it.”

Assessment

Our assessment is that Iran is keenly aware that billions of dollars of its future revenue is tied to the nuclear deal. Remarks from top officials are veiled threats to ensure that US does not walk back on its commitments. 

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Iran’s “intelligent” response?

 

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