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Salem Alketbi

Why the mullahs are daring everyone?

الثلاثاء - 30 مارس 2021

Tue - 30 Mar 2021

The Iranian mullahs continue to defy the major powers that signed the nuclear deal in 2015. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently confirmed that Iran has begun enriching uranium in an underground facility using a second type of advanced centrifuge (IR-4), a further violation of the terms of the nuclear deal.

On March 15, 2021, the agency confirmed that it had verified that Iran had begun pumping uranium fluoride into a series of 174 IR-4 centrifuges that it had already installed in a fuel enrichment plant.

The agreement only allows Iran to enrich uranium using first-generation (IR-1) enrichment devices. However, Iran has been enriching uranium for some time using second generation (IR-2) devices. According to the IAEA report, Iran is currently planning to install a second set of fourth-generation centrifuges, which are more advanced and efficient than the previous generations.

The IAEA report notes that by March 15, 2021. Iran will use 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades, 522 IR-2 centrifuges installed in three cascades, and 174 IR-4 centrifuges installed in a single cascade, to enrich natural uranium fluoride to a purity of up to 5 percent in the fuel enrichment plant.

Uranium enrichment operations are also being conducted with a purity of up to 20 percent at the Fordow nuclear facility. All of these accelerated Iranian moves are aimed at pressuring the Biden administration to quickly return to the nuclear deal from which former President Donald Trump withdrew in mid-2018.

The IAEA’s assertion of violations of the mullahs’ regime’s obligations under the nuclear deal is nothing new. The regime’s own leadership has been publicly announcing for some time that it is evading Iran’s obligations under the agreement.

This is the case, and the pace of these violations has increased markedly since President Biden took office in January. There are many drivers behind this Iranian challenge. The first is the weakness or weakening of the international alliance.

The mullahs know that the transatlantic alliance that has suffered under Trump is no longer the same. This is despite President Biden’s promises to work together with the allies.

The position of the European trio (Germany, France, and Britain) is still akin to a mediating role that strives to bridge the gap between the US and Iran to see who returns to the deal first. President Biden’s administration has a crisis of alternatives for dealing with the mullahs’ regime if the policy of strategic patience fails.

There is also a Chinese-Russian agreement on the Iranian mullahs’ position on the US returning to the deal first. All of this encourages the mullahs to dither, procrastinate, and buy time to strengthen their negotiating position by accumulating more violations and thus enriched uranium stocks.

The mullahs are manipulating everyone. It is quite clear that the continuation of the current approach to crisis management will only result in a return to the basic terms of the agreement.

This is what the mullahs have been aiming for all along, working to complicate the situation and add to the difficulties of finding a more comprehensive formula to replace the nuclear deal signed in 2015, and instead making it more of a hassle to ensure their commitment to uranium enrichment levels and straining international inspection teams to find the stockpiles that are being made during the suspension of their work.

And then we move on to other details that anyone who understands the tactics of Iranian negotiators knows will consume years of President Joe Biden’s current term. This is where his efforts end up being reduced to repositioning the current nuclear deal with a formula to extend its duration, nothing more and nothing less.

The Iranian policy aims to avoid moves to block Iran’s strategic expansion in the region, control the missile program and to not let the US and its allies get out of the framework of the old flawed agreement. Unfortunately, this plan is being blindly followed by the major powers.

It is true that the coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on everyone’s budgets. Talk of military confrontation has been suspended because of the repercussions of this crisis. But silence on the Iranian plan will have a much higher price to pay than accepting to repeat the mistakes of the past.

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