Iran Tests Nuclear Deal: Claims Other Options
Could the nuclear deal between Iran and the G5+1 be tossed aside? President-elect Donald Trump has claimed that the nuclear deal with Iran is the worst deal ever signed and that he’ll tear up the deal when he gets into office. These threats were made on the campaign trail, and so far the Donald has been quite mum in regards to his plans once he gets into office.
Still, Trump's disdain for the deal has been made obvious. Besides promising to tear up the deal, Trump also urged Iran to write America a thank you letter because the deal allegedly favored Iran so much. Trump did acknowledge that he would first consult American allies before backing out of the deal.
Iran has already come on record, stating that it hopes that the signatories of the previous nuclear accords will maintain the deal. Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran has other options, however, if the deal is discarded. Zarif also pointed out that the deal is not bi-lateral, and cannot be scrapped by one party.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also claimed that the United States cannot, on its own, discard the deal. State Department officials, however, have claimed that the deal is valid only if all parties uphold it.
Iran has enjoyed strong support from Russia and China, both negotiating parties and signatories in the nuclear accords. However, Donald Trump has so far hinted at warm relations with the Kremlin, and has harshly accused China of essentially cheating in regards to international trade. Trump could try to leverage support from Russia to re-institute sanctions on Iran, and may try to force China to follow along.
Trump may also force Germany, the United Kingdom, and France to support the deal. So far, Trump has stated that the United Kingdom and United States will maintain their warm relations. As for the rest of Europe? That remains to be seen. Trump has previously lambasted European members of NATO for relying on American strength for protection and defense.
Without Chinese and Russian support for further sanctions, containing Iran and exerting pressure on its economy will greatly be reduced.
Iran Exceeds Heavy Water Limits
Iran has already been testing the limits of the nuclear deal. Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran had, for the second time, violated the agreement by over producing too much heavy water. Iran is limited to 130 metric tonnes, but produced an extra .1 tonne.
The small amount of overproduction poses no immediate threat and doesn’t hint at a revival of Iranian nuclear ambitions. It’s possible that the overproduction was accidental, but more likely, Iran wants to test its true limits under the deal.
The issue was raised by the IAEA on November 2, and the Iranian government quickly agreed to ship 5 metric tonnes of water out of the country. There are measures under the deal to handle these types of scenarios. Iran previously exceeded these heavy water limits by similar small amounts, but the other signatory nations withheld criticism. If Iran continues to test the line, criticism could sharpen.
Heavy water contains a heavier isotope of hydrogen and is used in certain types of nuclear reactors. Heavy water can be used to slow down neutrons, making them more likely to react with fissile materials.