Ahead of Donald Trump’s likely withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal in May, the Regime announced 83 new nuclear projects – double the number from 2017.
Although none of these projects violates the letter of the deal, it is clear that the Regime wished to make the West uneasy, with projects like transferring yellowcake uranium and improving the Regime’s enrichment program and reactors.
After all, the Regime has already been threatening about the speed that they could restart their nuclear programme if Trump reimposes sanction.
President Hassan Rouhani said: “If the deal breaks, they will witness the fallout in less than a week.”
He also said that under his presidency, the nuclear programme is moving faster than ever before.
While, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, has threatened that there will be a “special surprise” for the US if Trump pulls out of the deal and that Iran could resume uranium enrichment up to 20% in just four days if given the word.
While an AEOI spokesperson said that Iran’s Fordow plant contains 1,600 operational centrifuges – a direct contradiction to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s February report – that only need a gas injection to restart enrichment.
How the holiday started
This unusual holiday began in 2006 under president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after Iranian scientists reached a significant point in their uranium enrichment work. It has mostly been used to threaten the West by revealing advancements – sometimes true, sometimes false – in their nuclear programme.
In 2007, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had mastered industrial-scale uranium enrichment. In 2009, he opened a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant and in 2010, when the West was discussing new sanctions on Iran, Ahmadinejad revealed a “third-generation centrifuge”.
This stopped following the 2015 nuclear deal, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the holiday’s focus shifted to the benefits that the nuclear industry provided to the Iranian public, but this couldn’t last and now the Regime is back to making threats again.
However, Omer Carmi, a Middle East intelligence expert, wrote on The Washington Institute that this could backfire on Iran as the Iranian people may see these nuclear festivities as a “farce”, given that the expensive new projects do not benefit the people or the economy.
This could well inspire more protests and bring regime change.