The Iranian government conducted a maneuver to counter the United States activation of the trigger mechanism (snapback), allowing access to two suspected sites, then convening a joint meeting of the JCPOA Commission to counter the US, but these maneuvers failed when credible international media on Friday, September 4, reported that the IAEA revealed that the Iranian government was still violating the JCPOA agreement.
While the Iranian government is under the pressure of the United States over its nuclear case, it has agreed to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to visit two suspected nuclear sites. But the evidence shows that the government is still in gross violation of the JCPOA and is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon.
After the resolution on the extension of the Iranian government’s arms embargo submitted by the US to the UN Security Council was blocked by other countries, the US announced that it would activate the trigger mechanism (snapback) at the end of September due to the Iranian government’s gross violation of the JCPOA and reiterates all the Security Council’s sanctions included in the six previous resolutions before the JCPOA imposed on this government.
Following this explicit determination on the part of the US, the regime, which sought to shift the balance in favor of itself and the of appeasement advocates such as China, Russia, and the European troika, cooperated with the IAEA in a formal agreement to investigate the two suspected sites, which it has so far opposed the access to IAEA inspectors.
The agreement was announced in a joint statement on Wednesday, August 26.
On 26 August, the New York Times quoted the State Department as saying, “Access is only the first step,” the department said in a statement. “Iran must provide nothing short of full cooperation, and the I.A.E.A. needs answers to its questions about potential undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.”
After Iran’s government give permission to inspect the two suspected sites, the Iranian government registered another maneuver.
The regime convened members of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA in a meeting in Vienna on Tuesday, September 1 to emphasize its full maintenance and implementation of the JCPOA and to urge other members of the JCPOA to line up and assist in their confrontation with the United States.
But these maneuvers did not open the door for this regime. Within a few days, reports of a gross and major breach of the JCPOA by the Iranian government were reported by the IAEA, and thereinafter international media covered it widely.
The IAEA reported:
- Iran’s low enriched uranium (LEU) stock now exceeds by ten-fold the limit set in the JCPOA. As of Aug 25, 2020, Iran has a stockpile of about 3114.5 kilograms (kg) of LEU (hexafluoride mass), all enriched below 5 percent, or the equivalent of 2105.4 kg (uranium mass).
- Of the 2105.4 kg LEU (U mass), 638.8 kg are enriched to up to 2 percent. 215.1 kg LEU enriched up to 3.67 percent are in a stock enriched before July 8, 2019. The remainder is 1890 kg of LEU enriched to more than 2 percent but less than 4.5 percent.
- Overall monthly LEU production has decreased slightly, from 181.5 kg per month in the previous reporting period (Feb 2020 – May 2020) to 165.1 kg per month during this reporting period (May 2020 – August 2020). This decrease only affected the below 2 percent uranium production. The monthly average production of 2 to 4.5 percent LEU increased slightly.
- Iran’s estimated breakout time as of late September 2020 is as short as 3.5 months. A new development is that Iran may have enough low enriched uranium to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a second nuclear weapon, where the second one could be produced more quickly than the first, requiring in total as little as 5.5 months to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons.
Now the world waits to see which direction the compass needle will show at the end of September. Will the trigger be pulled? A trigger that, if pulled, would also lead to the collapse of the Iranian regime.