After the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, it has become now more difficult to renegotiate a new Iran Nuclear Deal. Under President Obama’s administration Iran Nuclear Deal was signed between Iran and the P5+1 nation which includes five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany. The main aim of the agreement was to prevent Iran’s nuclear weapon program.
Iran has always maintained its stand that it has never planed for nuclear weapons and never would. Iran says that its nuclear program is only for civilian purposes.
The US had pooled itself out from the deal under President Trump’s administration in 2018 and the US sanctioned Iran, thereby rendering the deal obsolete. European countries have tried to save the nuclear deal, and prevent Iran from restarting its nuclear program as Washington continued to tighten sanctions.
With the change of administration in the US, the hopes of a New Deal with Iran were rife and highly sought for.
Iran has violated many of the deal’s restrictions but is still cooperating with the IAEA (which polices the deal) and allowed inspectors access under one of the most intrusive nuclear verification regimes imposed on any nation.
The official name of the deal was The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal restricts Iran in many aspects in the field of weaponization of nuclear energy.
Iran nuclear deal summary:
The deal restricts Iran to store enriched uranium to 202.8 kg, which is far below than eight tonnes it possessed before the deal. This restriction was breached last year. The IAEA report in November put the stockpile at 2,442.9 kg.
The deal caps the fissile purity to which Iran can refine uranium at 3.67%, far below the 20% achieved before the deal and below the weapons-grade level of 90%. Iran breached the 3.67% cap in July 2019 and the enrichment level has remained steady at up to 4.5% since then.
The deal limits Iran to produce enriched uranium using about 5,000 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges whereas the capacity of Iran is more than 50,000. It can operate small numbers of more advanced models above ground without accumulating enriched uranium. Iran had roughly 19,000 installed centrifuges before the deal. In 2019, the IAEA said Iran had begun enrichment with advanced centrifuges at an above-ground pilot plant at Natanz. Since then, Iran started moving three cascades, or clusters, of advanced centrifuges to the underground plant. In November, the IAEA said Iran had fed uranium hexafluoride gas feedstock into the first of those underground cascades.
The deal bans enrichment at Fordow, a site Iran secretly built inside a mountain and that was exposed by Western intelligence services in 2009. Centrifuges are allowed there for other purposes, like producing stable isotopes. Iran now has 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges enriching there.
Both the US and Iran have maintained that they hope to reach into a mutually beneficial agreement. While the key point for the US is to push Iran back to the previous agreement and put a check on the ballistic missile development. For, Iran the concern remains the unequivocal lifting of all sanctions.
Both parties also suffer from trust issues given the contemporary scenario. The Iran regime is worried about the sustenance of the deal under changing regimes in the US while the US is concerned about the election of conservative President Ebrahim Raisi into power in the US.
While both parties still maintain that they wish to reach an agreement, close observers note that reaching a deal is still highly unlikely in near future.