On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that Iran’s nuclear program could be restarted in a matter of “hours” if the White House imposes additional sanctions on Tehran.
If restarted, the program would be “far more advanced” than it was in 2015, said Rouhani. Several other Iranian officials have threatened to restart industrial-scale uranium enrichment, potentially as high as 20%.
Such activity was a major concern during Obama’s presidency when Iran and the US signed the JCPOA (other members of the deal: China, Britain, Germany, France, and Russia). The controversial nuclear deal lifted longtime economic sanctions on Iran in return for strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities.
Due to Obama’s lack of negotiating skills, however, the treaty is written in such a way that we have little ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities.
President Trump has repeatedly called the JCPOA a “disaster,” but the other signees disagree. In January, the White House declared that it would no longer “turn a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions.”
Rouhani’s threat to reinstate nuclear activity follows sanctions on six Iranian companies, announced in July, and a more recent sanctions package, passed in early August, that imposes penalties on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
The new sanctions aim to punish Iran for its ongoing ballistic missile tests, but Rouhani argues that Iran has every right to conduct missile tests and that it has fully complied with the provisions of the JCPOA.
Rouhani pointed out that President Trump has either pulled out or threatened to pull out of numerous international treaties.
“It is the US government, especially the current Trump Administration, that is ignoring treaties,” said Rouhani, “showing to the world and its allies that the US is neither a good ally nor a trustworthy negotiating partner.”
The United States insists that Iran’s missile tests violate a UN resolution that calls on Iran not to “undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”
Iran argues that the new sanctions breach the JCPOA and insists that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
On Sunday, Iran’s MPs passed a bill that increases the budget for Iran’s ballistic missile program and increases the country’s military budget by nearly $800 million.
“The bill has very wisely tried not to violate the (nuclear deal) and also gives no chance to the other party to manipulate it,” said deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi. “This bill is an astute response to the enmity and wickedness of the United States against Iran."
Some members of parliament chanted “death to America” as the legislation passed.
Editor's note: Let's face it, Iran never stopped developing nuclear weapons, and the "deal" is effectively non-existent.