Back during the Obama administration, opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) peddled a lot of nonsense in their attempt to derail a pretty robust non-proliferation deal. Some hawks argued that the United States would be unable to effectively reimpose sanctions on Iran should it choose to. But it turns out that, at least for now, Washington can unilaterally impose sanctions capable of “crippling” the Iranian economy.
Faced with those sanctions, Tehran has adopted a perfectly rational policy of incrementally violating the JCPOA. On the international side, this puts pressure on the other parties to make the agreement work for Iran. On the domestic side, it’s difficult for the regime to justify continued compliance. After all, the whole point of the deal was that Iran would receive economic benefits from restricting its freedom of action. That’s not happening.
If the situation were reversed, Washington would be doing the same thing. See, for example, the recent American withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
So it’s not surprising that Iran has breached the JCPOA’s restrictions on operating centrifuges.
Iran has activated a chain of advanced centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment in defiance of a 2015 nuclear accord, a senior Iranian official said Saturday, raising the stakes for European powers struggling to prevent the deal’s collapse.
The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, announced the new measures at a news conference in Tehran, warning that there was little time left to salvage the deal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this week that Iran would set aside the accord’s restrictions on nuclear-related research and development and would expand its use of advanced centrifuges.
“These steps are reversible if the other side fulfills its promises,” Kamalvandi said, urging European nations to compensate Tehran following a U.S. withdrawal from the pact last year.
“We cannot remain in the deal unilaterally,” he said.
So how have opponents reacted to Iran’s behavior? By arguing that it proves they were right about the JCPOA all along.
This is basically like Hitler blaming World War II on the United Kingdom for the failure of the Munich Accords to prevent him from invading Poland.