US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the Trump administration is going to extend Iran’s weapons embargo. The ban was set to expire in October, as outlined in the Iranian nuclear deal. The unprecedented move has provoked its European allies, who have pointed out that the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 on its own accord.
Iran has gone to extreme lengths to preserve its nuclear program. Despite a flurry of devastating sanctions designed to cripple its economy, it has refused to abandon this dicey endeavor. Just to get a feel of how badly the sanctions have ravaged the economy, Iranian oil exports have fallen to just under 2.6 million barrels a month, from 4.6 million in 2018.
An Intеrnаtіоnаl Atоmіс Energy Agency (IAEA) іnѕресtоr wаѕ brіеflу detained аt thе Nаtаnz Enrісhmеnt Center Wednesday. According to tо nеwѕ sources, hіѕ travel dосumеntѕ hаvе аlѕо been соnfіѕсаtеd. Infоrmеd sources, whо did not wаnt tо bе nаmеd, dеѕсrіbеd thе mоvе аѕ “kіnd оf hаrаѕѕmеnt.”
The Atоmіс Enеrgу Organization of Iran officially announced оn Thurѕdаy the ѕtаrt of thе рrосеѕѕ of urаnіum enrichment at Fоrdоw’ѕ underground fасіlіtіеѕ. Rеutеrѕ nеwѕ agency rеlеаѕеd a rероrt, rеflесtіng thе news thаt thе enrichment of uranium by аdvаnсеd сеntrіfugеѕ аt the Fоrdоw nuсlеаr fасіlіtу hаѕ bеgun. Ending uranium еnrісhmеnt аt the Fordow nuclear facility іѕ оnе of thе key ріllаrѕ оf the nuсlеаr dеаl.
Iran will rеѕumе urаnіum еnrісhmеnt at іtѕ Fоrdоw rеасtоr ѕоuth оf Tеhrаn, President Hаѕѕаn Rоuhаnі ѕаіd on Monday. It is the lаtеѕt ѕtер іn Tеhrаn’ѕ reneging оn соmmіtmеntѕ tо a nuclear deal іt signed with mаjоr powers іn 2015. Rоuhаnі ѕаіd Tehran wоuld ѕtаrt pumping gаѕ tо thе сеntrіfugеѕ аt thе Fоrdоw reactor оn Wednesday, thе lаѕt dау оf a twо-mоnth dеаdlіnе Irаn hаd gіvеn to раrtіеѕ to thе nuclear dеаl tо hоnоr its соmmіtmеntѕ.
President Trump has not renegotiated a deal with Iran after withdrawing the United States from an Obama era nuclear pact. The two countries are at loggerheads following Trump’s exit from the international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for lifting sanctions on the Islamic regime, though Trump has held open the door for future talks. Trump is quoted as saying “If we could work out something that’s meaningful, not a waste of paper that the other deal was, I would certainly be willing to meet.”
Iran said on Thursday it had begun operating in advanced and rapid uranium enrichment centrifuges, the latest step towards reducing its obligations under a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said 40 of those devices were now operational.
Abbas Arakchi, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, will visit Paris on Monday to discuss a new proposal given by the French president. The announcement was made by Mahmoud Vaezi, the head of the Iranian president’s office, who said his goal was to “review the new Macron proposal.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Paris to discuss the proposals by Emmanuel Macron to preserve the JCPOA deal, and is scheduled to meet with the French president today, Friday. The details of Mr. Macron’s proposal are not yet clear, but he said he has a strategy aimed at “reducing sanctions.”
A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned American drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Later that week, President Trump called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last minute. He explained the next day that he did not believe the loss of Iranian lives to be proportionate to the loss of a machine. On Thursday, the United States appeared to level the score. US Marines jammed an unmanned Iranian drone in the Strait, downing the aircraft and destroying it. The incident reignited tensions between the two countries, which seem to be stumbling toward war.
Amid ongoing saber rattling between the United States and Iran, two European envoys have been dispatched to attempt to save the Iran Nuclear Deal. Emmanuel Bonne, representing French President Emmanuel Macron, was in Tehran this week, and British Foreign Minister (and Prime Ministerial candidate) Jeremy Hunt is headed for Brussels. Meanwhile, Iran says it’s ready to talk, conditionally. It seems unlikely the United States will be as willing to listen.