The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that the Iranian regime has systematically violated the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as it is known, since the beginning.
One of the terms was for Iran to keep enrichment of uranium to less than four percent. Furthermore, at its Fordow facility – a fortified underground site – the enrichment of uranium to any level was banned.
The knowing transfer of graphite or raw or semi-finished metal to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard-controlled construction sector remains sanctionable. We should remember: An IRGC-controlled construction firm built the uranium enrichment site at Fordow. https://t.co/BPg32TJC9x
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 16, 2021
Back in 2019, Iran went over the limit slightly, and then early last year it stopped complying with every term. This led to “cascades” of advanced nuclear enrichment centrifuges being installed at the Fordow facility.
It was recently confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had started using this new installation to carry out uranium enrichment at 20 percent, meaning that Iran is getting closer to the levels needed to have working nuclear weapons.
This news is alarming and of course, the IAEA is concerned about Iran’s latest move. However, what is even more alarming is that Western policies have not been changed to respond to this latest development.
The European Union and in particular the European signatories to the deal have continued to remain committed to the nuclear deal, despite the agreement being rendered pointless by the regime’s continual breaches.
Foreign Ministers who represent the 3 European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal responded condemned the action this week when the mullah regime claimed that it had started again with its enrichment of uranium to 20%.https://t.co/ruhe7rm2yy #MEK #Iran #WeStand4FreeIran pic.twitter.com/sx1bdE9wHw
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) January 10, 2021
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is playing the role of the moderate, maintaining that the provocation can be reversed and trying to persuade policymakers that parts of the regime are against the breaches.
This could not be further from the truth. Zarif likes to play the role of the moderate, but it is just that – a role. The regime as a whole has malign intentions and Zarif should not be trusted any more than an extreme hardliner. There are no moderates.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry can insist that it is trying to cooperate with Western powers all it wants, but it does not make it true. When the hardliners and the pretend moderates act together, it has the effect of making Western powers want to side with the like of Zarif, but it is nothing more than deception.
Iran’s deception has worked – it had sanctions removed and the nuclear deal was one-sided – more favorable to Iran than any other party. But the international community must be careful, in particular the United States.
Incoming President Joe Biden has already said that he is keen for the US to re-join the JCPOA, albeit only if Iran returned to compliance. However, will the European signatories back him on his demand given that they have strongly appeased the regime this whole time?
Perhaps the Western powers should look at the deal from a new angle? From the perspective of the people of Iran. For decades, the regime has suppressed the people, often with great violence and brutality. It has plundered the nation’s wealth and shoved a huge part of society into poverty.
Instead of appeasement, re-entering dead deals, and so on, it would be more productive if the international community focused instead on confronting the regime for its belligerence and holding it to account for its malign acts.