As America focuses on the post-presidency impeachment of Donald Trump, Iran has wasted no time breaking the 2015 nuclear deal.
While previous breaches have been reported, such as exceeding uranium enrichment goals, Tehran has produced uranium metal – the material needed to build the core of a nuclear weapon.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), uranium metal was produced in an Isfahan nuclear plant.
While the Obama administration acted very favorably towards Iran, creating a deal that allowed billions of dollars to go to the largest state funder of terrorism, this egregious violation of the nuclear deal is expected to complicate diplomacy between the Biden administration and Tehran’s leadership.
The uranium production was not done in any sort of clandestine manner. Rather, Iran notified IAEA before the act, prompting an unheeded warning from European governments. In the opinion of Europe, the production of uranium metal – an act prohibited by the 2015 deal – has “no credible civilian use.”
Iran argues that the U.S. violated the deal, with Trump withdrawing from the agreement in 2018 and reimposing sanctions. Given that Tehran is no longer unsanctioned, Iranian officials believe they are within their legal rights to stop complying with nuclear restrictions.
Whether or not this violation results in grave military implications, the United States and Iran will have no shortage of conflicts in the upcoming years. With an uptick in violence and instability in Iraq, Iran has returned to its policy of funding and arming militias abroad. With similar scenarios playing out in Yemen and Syria, a purely peaceful conclusion continues to become more unlikely.