Iran plans to reduce compliance with the nuclear deal designed to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons before the presidential election.
In a statement shared with NBC News by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday, Iran has begun modifying and installing relevant equipment to conduct research and development on uranium metal production. Iran informed the IAEA on Wednesday.
If sufficiently enriched, uranium metal can be used at the core of nuclear warheads, according to nuclear experts.
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However, Iran has said the move is intended to help design a better type of fuel for a research reactor, the UN nuclear watchdog said. Tehran has long been demanding to develop nuclear weapons and says that doing so would be contrary to Islamic education.
Nevertheless, the move undermines Iran’s compliance with the anti-nuclear deal reached with six world powers, including the US, in 2015, increasing pressure on the incoming Biden administration.
As part of the milestone deal, Iran agreed not to engage in the production of uranium metals for 15 years and, among other commitments, seeking to begin research and development on uranium metal 10 years later. In return, world powers – France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China, and the US – would grant economic approval.
Biden – who was part of the President Barack Obama administration that signed the deal – has said that if he complies with his terms by Iran, he is ready to return to the agreement and has suggested building on the agreement Have given.
However, Iran has decided to broaden the agreement to include issues such as the country’s ballistic missile program.
Tehran wants to avoid a “grand bargain” negotiation involving issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, said Clement Ther, a research fellow at Signs Poe, a political science institute in Paris.
“The more you have technical problems, problems on the nuclear file, the less the West would like to negotiate human rights, regional policy and ballistic missiles,” he said.
Iran began to reduce compliance with the nuclear deal in 2019 as President Donald Trump unilaterally removed the US from the agreement in 2018 and again banned the Middle Eastern nation.
Iran announced last week that it had restarted up to 20 percent of its uranium at its Fordo site, buried deep inside a mountain. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to enrich uranium by only 3.67 percent.
Also, the Trump administration is intensifying its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran in its last days in office.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said the United States is imposing sanctions on two organizations controlled by Iran’s supreme leader. The US also nominated the former Secretary-General of the powerful Iran-backed Qatib Hezbollah militia in Iraq.