Centrifugal separator for enriching uranium at Iran’s nuclear facility. yunhap news
As soon as the Joe Biden administration was launched on the 20th of last month, confrontation between the United States and Iran over the restoration of the Iranian nuclear agreement (JCPOA, Comprehensive Joint Action Plan) is escalating.
Iran’s state broadcaster reported on the 22nd (local time) that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stopped implementing the Additional Protocol, which is one of the nuclear inspection-related safety measures of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The Additional Protocol is a reinforced nuclear inspection that allows inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit Iran’s nuclear facilities and check their activities, and is the main content of the agreement.
In principle, the Biden government, which said it would restore the nuclear agreement, but offered Iran’s observance of the nuclear agreement as a condition, was under pressure by drastically reducing its nuclear inspections.
The nuclear agreement was signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China in 2015 with Iran. Instead of freezing or reducing its nuclear program, the six countries lift economic sanctions against Iran.
However, in May 2018, the former administration of the United States, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement and restored sanctions against Iran.
Regarding the IAEA’s nuclear inspection against Iran, IAEA Secretary-General Rafael Grossey made an urgent visit to Iran on the 20th to discuss with Iran.
He said on the 21st, “Even if Iran stops implementing the Additional Protocol, it will still be able to maintain the necessary inspection and verification work for three months.”
Iran also issued a warning to raise the concentration of uranium enrichment, which is a direct measure of the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, and called for the US’ preemptive action (removing sanctions) to resolve the nuclear crisis.
Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned on the 22nd that “the concentration of uranium enrichment is not limited to 20%,” and “if Iran needs it, it can enrich uranium to a concentration of 60%.”
Ayatollah Hamenei drew a line in the development of nuclear weapons, but stressed that “the parties to the nuclear agreement between the United States and Europe treated Iran with an unfair attitude,” and “we will not succumb to that pressure.”
In response, US State Department spokesman Ned Price dismissed “Hamenei’s remarks sound like intimidation,” and “I will not respond to family law and scourge.”
The U.S. adhered to the attitude that Iran must first comply with the nuclear agreement.
Minister Tony Blincoln said at the UN disarmament conference held on the 22nd, if Iran strictly adheres to nuclear agreements, including the NPT Safeguard Agreement, the United States will return to this.
“The United States is committed to ensuring that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons,” he said. “Diplomacy is the best way to achieve this goal.”
He added, “The United States will seek to strengthen and extend the nuclear agreement while working with allies.
Regarding the current situation surrounding the nuclear agreement, Kim Hyuk of the Korea-Iran Association (adjunct professor of the Department of Persian Language and Iran at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies) said, “Obviously, the relationship between the United States and Iran is at a loss, but considering Iran’s diplomatic strategy in the past, it will raise the level of pressure. “There is a willingness to sit at the table to restore the nuclear agreement, and it can also be interpreted as a strategy to increase the bargaining power.”
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