Sunday, November 10, 2019
The situation between the US and Iran with regard to the nuclear agreement continues to escalate. Tehran provokes with the renewed enrichment of uranium. The US chief of staff then speaks of "military capabilities" to defend American interests if necessary.
After more than four years, Iran resumed uranium enrichment in the Fordo underground facility, once again violating the international nuclear agreement. The leadership in Tehran wants to increase the pressure on Germany and the other contracting parties to fulfill their obligations from the nuclear deal.
The 2015 Vienna Convention aims to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons. US Chief of Staff Mark Milley issued a warning in the face of the new provocation. Milley told Abc in an interview: "We put our trust in diplomatic efforts, but at the same time we will ensure that we maintain a reasonable level of military capacity in the region to defend American interests when needed."
Since the United States unilaterally terminated the nuclear agreement in May 2018, tensions between the two countries are steadily increasing. In June, Iran shot down a US reconnaissance drone. Washington is also responsible for Tehran's attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia in mid-September. With a policy of "maximum pressure," the US government is trying to persuade Iran to renegotiate the nuclear agreement with stricter conditions. American sanctions have triggered an economic crisis in the oil-rich country.
Intelligence agencies doubt purpose of nuclear plant
Western intelligence agencies repeatedly blamed the Iranian leadership for using the Fordo nuclear facility for military purposes. Therefore, the transformation of the plant into a research center was one of the key issues in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five UN veto powers – China, France, Great Britain, Russia and the USA – as well as Germany.
Behrus Kamalwandi, spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), said uranium enrichment had begun at a rate of 4.5 percent. Earlier in the week, uranium gas had been injected into the 1044 centrifuges in Fordo. According to the Vienna Atomic Energy Contract, Fordo south of Tehran was to be used only for scientific projects; the centrifuges there could only be tested without gas injection. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna has been informed about all steps in Fordo, Kamalwandi said. IAEA inspectors are also present locally.
Partners hold on to deal
The Foreign Ministry in Tehran justified the renewed violation of the nuclear deal with the actions of the West. The deal can only be saved if it is implemented by the contractors, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. Germany and the remaining partners are still holding on to the deal, but without the US, they are not in a position to implement it. Iran remains open to concrete solutions and initiatives from the parties, Mousavi said.
Mousavi dismissed reports of Iran's withdrawal from the NPT. "At least that's not on our agenda right now," he said. The Iranian nuclear organization had threatened with the withdrawal on Saturday, should the Vienna Agreement not be implemented in accordance with the contract. Iran ratified the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, which aims for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. When asked about the escalation levels, the US chief of staff said: "Our government has decided not to act militarily at this point, but we have the capacity." He pointed out that the US relocated more troops to the region last month. Further action depends on the extent and nature of Iran's provocation, and on the extent to which the country threatens US soldiers, US interests or allies in the region, Milley said.
Second nuclear power plant is created
Meanwhile, construction work on a second nuclear power plant in the port city of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf has begun in Iran. It serves civil purposes and is intended for energy production and supply. Nuclear chief and vice president Ali Akbar Salehi said the new Akw in Bushehr should have a 1,000-megawatt reactor and be completed by 2023. Immediately thereafter, Iran will begin construction of a third Akw to be commissioned by 2025. The two new Akw are to be created like the first in cooperation with Russia.
Iran's President Hassan Ruhani also announced the discovery of a new oil field in Chusestan in the south of the country with a potential of 53 billion barrels (159 liters each). The discovery is enormously important in view of the US oil sanctions against Iran.
. (tagsToTranslate) Politics (t) United States (t) Iran (t) Iranian nuclear program (t) Iran conflict