Iran has taken no additional steps to violate the JCPOA after announcing its fifth breach earlier this year, the IAEA head reports. Despite triggering the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, Europe remains committed to preserving the agreement and will continue to push back against Washington’s pressure to abandon the accord, according to the EU foreign policy chief.
While Iran’s violations of the accord are serious, they are reversible and they do not suggest, as some have alleged, that Iran is dashing to acquire a nuclear bomb.
In announcing it is no longer bound by key 2015 nuclear deal limits, Iran nevertheless pledged to continue its cooperation with the IAEA.
Iran announced its fifth breach of the JCPOA on Jan. 5 but stated it would continue to cooperate fully with the IAEA. Iran did not withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and remains party to the NPT. In response to the violation, European members of the JCPOA threatened again to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism, which could incur a snapback of UN sanctions lifted under the deal, but Russia and China appear less concerned.
Since May 2019, Iran has breached limits imposed by the JCPOA every 60 days. While none of the violations pose a near-term proliferation risk, taken together, Iran’s systematic and provocative violations of the nuclear deal are cause for concern and jeopardize the future of the deal.
Iran takes fourth retaliatory step after U.S. pullout from 2015 agreement.
A special issue reporting on the details of the November 11, 2019, IAEA report.
In Iran's most recent breach of the JCPOA, President Hassan Rouhani directed technicians to feed UF6 into centrifuges at the Fordow facility, which is intended to be converted to a research and medical isotope facility, and the U.S. renewed sanctions waivers to allow for continued nonproliferation projects at Fordow and elsewhere, but it is unclear whether the sanctions waiver for Fordow will be revoked.
Iran may be trying to leverage greater European action for the sanctions relief, but its latest actions will further complicate tensions
A French effort nearly brought together the United States and Iran to address the troubled JCPOA.
Iran has begun to test advanced centrifuges as it furthers its noncompliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has threatened a third breach of limits imposed on its nuclear program by the JCPOA, and a recent IAEA report poses questions about Tehran’s cooperation with the Agency’s safeguards inspections. European efforts to salvage the Iran Deal have come to a standstill. Complicating matters further, the United States and the E3 have blamed Iran for a September attack on a Saudi Arabian oil refinery.
While Iran’s decision to breach a third JCPOA nuclear limit does not pose a near-term proliferation risk, it is worrisome and could be followed by more serious steps if the United States continues to reject reasonable offers for dialogue and for easing tensions.
Iran exceeds limits set by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Kelsey Davenport guest authored this contribution to the U.S. Institute of Peace's "The Iran Primer" following Iran's uranium enrichment level breach earlier this month.