Courtesy of Nanking2012 via JNS  The Iran nuclear program's heavy-water reactor at Arak.

Courtesy of Nanking2012 via JNS 

The Iran nuclear program's heavy-water reactor at Arak. 

 

(JNS) Iran has exceeded the uranium enrichment limit under the 2015 nuclear deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced on July 1.

Tzvi Kahn, senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS that Iran’s aim is to preserve relations with European allies in the face of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against the regime since it withdrew the United States from the agreement in May 2018, reimposing sanctions lifted under it along with enacting new penalties against Iran.“As a practical matter, Iran’s breach of the stockpile limit is an incremental violation that does not significantly expedite its path to a nuclear weapon,” he said. “Tehran’s aim here is not to start a war, but to project strength, test U.S. resolve and ultimately weaken U.S. deterrence.”

Kahn continued, saying “the regime also seeks to pressure Europe to restore economic ties with Iran, which have collapsed thanks to Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. In this sense, Iran is engaging in nuclear blackmail, hoping to pressure the Trump administration to back down while stopping short of conduct that could prompt a more punishing U.S. or European response.”

Taking it even further, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that Iran will further violate the agreement.

“Our next step will be enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent allowed under the deal,” he stated. “The Europeans have failed to fulfill their promises of protecting Iran’s interests under the deal.”

‘Economic pressure and diplomatic isolation will intensify’

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