By Elijah Nicholson-Messmer
The UN’s nuclear watchdog reported that Iran is within the limits set by the 2015 Nuclear Accord, contradicting assertions by President Trump which insist Iran is in violation of the deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) charged with verifying Iran’s adherence to the set limits through inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities, reported that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium is 88.4kg (about 195lb), less than a third of the maximum allowed.
Iran has also maintained its quantity of enrichment centrifuges and heavy water within the agreed limits, according to the IAEA report. This is the third report by the IAEA certifying Iran’s adherence to the accord since President Trump took office in January.
According to IAEA, The agreement specifies that Iran must stay below a specified quantity of uranium and uranium enrichment centrifuges for 15 years. If Iran fails to adhere to these limits during this 15 year period the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran prior to the accord will be reinstated.
Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow with the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution said, “The deal stands up very well as a barrier to proliferation . . . for up to 15 years. Beyond that, Iran will clearly be able to increase its enrichment capabilities and will be able to shorten the breakout time.”
Under the accord, Iran’s breakout time for developing a nuclear weapon has been estimated by White House officials to be 12 months, significantly longer than the pre-deal breakout time of two to three months.
Iran’s Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country’s nuclear sector, said last month “we are able to resume 20 percent enrichment in at most five days.”
However, David Eckels and Ariana Tabatabai, journalists at The Atlantic, said “The Iran deal ensured this, because it required the elimination of 97 percent of Iran’s uranium stockpile; the destruction of the Arak reactor’s core, blocking the production of weapons-grade plutonium; the removal of two-thirds of centrifuges; and a halt to all uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow site.”
Contradicting the accepted monitoring agreements, Iranian spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht discussed that the recent pushes by the Trump administration for IAEA inspections of their military sites are a “dream.”
Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN ambassador, said “Inspections of Iranian military sites are ‘merely a dream,’ then Iranian compliance . . . is also a dream.”