Despite more than a year of U.S. violations and unjustified sanctions, Iran is still complying with the nuclear deal. This is the fifteenth consecutive report from the IAEA that confirms Iranian compliance:
The U.N. atomic watchdog says Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing.
In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states Friday and seen by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
Iran has honored its commitments under the JCPOA without interruption for more than three and a half years. In exchange, Iran’s trust was betrayed and the Iranian people have been punished with a severe sanctions regime. The nuclear deal did exactly what it was supposed to do for the P5+1, but the promised sanctions relief for Iran was slow in coming and then arbitrarily snatched away for no good reason. Iranians can be forgiven for thinking that it was a mistake to negotiate away their leverage with the U.S. and the other major powers, and that is what most Iranians now believe. Iran’s continued compliance in the face of the outrageous treatment from the Trump administration has been remarkable, and all the more so when we remember that opponents of the agreement insisted that Iranian cheating was a foregone conclusion. The JCPOA is still alive, and it may survive until there is a new administration in Washington, but it won’t last much longer if the next administration does not hasten to rejoin it and lift all of the sanctions that have been imposed since May 2018.
In response to the economic war being waged against them, the Iranian government recently announced that it would not be bound by the restrictions on its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water. Daryl Kimball explains the implications:
In response to U.S. moves to further tighten sanctions earlier this spring, Iran announced on May 8 that it would no longer adhere to JCPOA limits on stockpiling heavy water and low-enriched uranium. Iran also gave the other parties to the agreement (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union) 60 days to help it thwart U.S. sanctions on oil sales and banking transactions, or else it will take additional measures with more significant proliferation implications.
With its existing heavy-water production and uranium-enrichment capacities, Iran could soon breach some of these limits. Any violation of JCPOA restrictions is cause for concern, but Iran’s plan to exceed the agreement’s limits on storing more than 130 metric tons of heavy water and 300 kilograms of 3.67-percent enriched uranium-235 would not pose an immediate proliferation risk. By comparison, in June 2015 Iran had a stockpile of approximately 11,500 kilograms of LEU in all forms. It takes roughly 1,050 kilograms of LEU in gas form and enriched to weapons-grade to produce a significant quantity for one bomb.
Trump administration officials are already quick to cite this as their pretext for accusing Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, but their claims are false. If Iran exceeds some of these limits, it will be doing so only in response to the absurd U.S. pressure campaign and it will be taking the least provocative action possible. It is a warning to the other parties of the agreement that they have to do more to salvage the situation and provide Iran with more of the benefits it was promised. Iran’s record of consistent compliance with the deal proves that they don’t want to violate it if they don’t have to, but U.S. punitive measures are making it impossible for them not to react. If the deal is going to survive, Iran can’t be the only party to the agreement that fully honors its commitments.