In Brief: Weeks, not months, to revive Iran nuclear deal, warns IAEA head

July 2015 Iran nuclear deal: agreement in Vienna. From left to right: Foreign ministers/secretaries of state Wang Yi (China), Laurent Fabius (France), Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Federica Mogherini (EU), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran), Philip Hammond (UK), John Kerry (USA). (Photo: Dragan Tatic, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Biden has weeks, not months, to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned this week. Rafael Grossi was speaking as Tehran last week resumed enriching uranium at its Fordo site to 20 percent and threatened to shut the doors to inspectors from next month. Earlier this week, the European Union sounded the alarm about Iran’s activities, labelling them “a very serious development” with “potentially severe proliferation implications”.
“It is clear that we don’t have many months ahead of us,” Grossi said in an interview for the Reuters Next conference. “We have rather weeks.”
The 20 percent level breaches limits set by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but is below the threshold needed for nuclear weapons. Iran had already been enriching uranium up to 4.5 percent purity, in contravention of limits of 3.67 percent required by the accord.
In a statement, the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said: “We urge Iran to refrain from further escalation and reverse this course of action without delay. Continued full and timely cooperation with the IAEA remains critical.” He added that the EU supported “intensive diplomacy with the goal of facilitating a US return to the JCPOA and Iran’s return to full JCPOA implementation”. The US withdrew from the deal in 2018 and Iran has since ramped-up its non-compliance. Biden pledged on the campaign trail that America would return to the nuclear deal if Iran returned to compliance. He also said he wanted the agreement to be “stronger and longer” and tackle Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and its support for terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Biden has named William Burns, a former diplomat involved in talks with Iran, to be his CIA head. Read full article