After IAEA Reports on Limited Nuclear Implementation, Iran Boasts of Reversibility

The IAEA report reiterates what had already been observed by several Western media outlets, namely that Iran has taken some steps, but far from enough to conclude that it is already complying. Specifically, about 4,500 centrifuges have been removed, according to a summary of the IAEA report published in Dawn.

But the IAEA report also affirms that no steps have been taken on either Arak or removal of low-enriched uranium. In fact, those stockpiles have grown since the conclusion of nuclear negotiations, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had declared that the country will not move to fully implement the agreement until the IAEA clears the file on the past military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program.

The Times of Israel specified earlier in the week that Iran’s very limited implementations efforts so far have focused on centrifuges that were already idle, thereby minimizing the length of time that it would take for Iran to restore full enrichment capabilities.

Furthermore, Iran News Update linked this fact to recent statements by Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in which he claimed that the dismantling that has been completed thus far could be reversed in only two months’ time. This sentiment has now been repeated with respect to one of the other forthcoming measures.

That is, Eurasia Review pointed out on Friday that Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament, said that Iran would reactivate the core of the Arak facility within six months if it judged the US to be out of compliance with the JCPOA.

These sorts of threats and qualifications to Iran’s limited initial activities contribute to Western skepticism about Iran’s long-term commitment to compliance with the agreement. Although the negotiating process was entirely based on constraining Iran’s illicit nuclear activities, many Iranian statements in the wake of the agreement have appeared to take the position that the burden of compliance should be focused on the United States.

As a case in point, Dawn reports that Salehi responded to the latest IAEA reports by saying that the path was now clear for Iran to receive its sanctions relief because the member states of the P5+1 had signed a document on the redesign of Arak, thereby showing that they have “guaranteed to cooperate.”

But from the perspective of critics of the Iranian regime and current Western policy toward it, the latest reports can be expected to fall far short of providing similar guarantees regarding Tehran.