by: Kate Norman
Friday, 12 July 2019 | As Iran steps further away from its limitations set under the 2015 nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone Wednesday to discuss “regional developments and security issues,” Netanyahu confirmed on Twitter.
“Foremost among them was Iran,” the prime minister continued. “I thanked President Trump for his intention to increase sanctions against Iran.”
Tensions have been high between the two nations and Iran, as the Islamic Republic each week operates further outside the parameters set in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015, which was intended to lift sanctions on Iran pending its agreement to drastically reduce its nuclear development program. After Netanyahu revealed an undercover operation by Israel that proved Iran had maintained the nuclear archives it had agreed to destroy, Trump pulled out of the deal last year, calling it “flawed,” and reimposed sanctions on the regime, plunging it into a recession.
Despite the efforts of the remaining nations to salvage the deal, the Islamic Republic announced that it would begin operating outside the boundaries.
“The Europeans should act upon their undertakings to guarantee Iran’s oil sales, transportation, return of Iran’s assets and revenues of crude sales,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asserted last week when he announced that Iran had surpassed the 300-kilogram (660-lb) enriched uranium limit.
The next line Iran crossed was enriching its uranium beyond 3.67% purity when it announced on Monday that it had surpassed 4.5%, a step which a former expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said completes “60% of the enrichment effort required to have weapons grade material,” shaving months off the process of developing nuclear weapons.
The regime has threatened to take yet another stride away from the agreement, warning it will revive previously deactivated centrifuges to enrich its uranium to a higher purity of 20%, the Jerusalem Post reported, inching closer and closer to the 90% required for nuclear weapons.
“In the event that Europe does not act on its commitments during the 60-day time span which we are currently in, Iran will take the third step strongly,” chairman of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy commission Mojtaba Zolnour threatened, according to Fars News.
US officials have accused Iran of extortion.
“There is no credible reason for Iran to expand its nuclear program, and there is no way to read this as anything other than a crude and transparent attempt to extort payments from the international community,” US Ambassador Jackie Wolcott told the IAEA board.
“This is an interpretation the Iranian regime itself readily admits, stating openly that it will continue to engage in such provocations until it receives various economic benefits,” she continued.
Trump weighed in on Twitter this week with a warning for the Islamic Republic.
“Iran has long been secretly ‘enriching,’ in total violation of the terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration,” he wrote. “Remember, that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!”
The world watches as tensions mount and both sides threaten further action against the other.
Posted on July 12, 2019
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 12, 2019)
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