Flashback to 2012
Let’s go back to 2012, and remind you of one of those oh-so-lovely, Ahmadinejad-led Iranian threats: On the 2nd of October, Reuters reported that “Iran would enrich uranium up to 60% purity if negotiations with major powers over its nuclear program fail”.
The reason for this number, according to Mansour Haqiqatpour, deputy head of parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, was for yielding fuel for atomic submarines…not for any peaceful causes, if someone was asking.
Skipping a few months into the future, the Iran election came and went and Hassan Rouhani was elected into the office of President with a great promise of moderation. There were the few rounds of talks, and then the big announcement in November that a “landmark” “nuclear deal” was signed, a deal that magically continues to be both a done deal and a work in progress simultaneously, depending on who’s talking.
But, regardless of who is talking, it’s understood that one of the defining lines of the deal is capping at 20% uranium enrichment (actually, according to the NPT, this should be 5%). Capping on 20% enrichment shows that Iran is not intending in any way to militarize its nuclear program. Everyone believed that this was agreed.
Back to the Future, Again
Well, apparently not everyone.
According to Foreign minister Zarif, not only can “Iran (could) resume enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity in less than a day” but the magic 60% number is back again: the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, is pushing for a bill which would require Iran to enrich its Uranium to 60%.
So while Zarif is righteously shouting out against the US Congress’s wish to renew sanctions and President Obama is actually willing to veto these sanctions, the 20% limit is on its way to being broken and there’s a good chance that Zarif might blame the US for this as well.
So what’s the lesson here? Always learn from history, it has a funny way of repeating…especially in Iran.