As the chances for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal fade, Tehran has decided to speed up its uranium enrichment without any constraints, threatening to escalate tension in the region.

The US and its western allies have concluded that the chances to resuscitate the deal, scarped by former President Donald Trump in 2017, are “tenuous at best”, as US’ Iran special envoy Robert Malley put at a congressional hearing late last month.

As per the latest report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran is increasing undeclared uranium enrichments, pointing to recent preparations to use advanced centrifuges at its underground Fordow site that raise significantly the level of uranium enrichment. The installation of the new centrifuges coincided with Iran’s removal of the IAEA cameras, installed under the 2015 deal.

The report also said Iran has yet to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites. The agency’s previous report, issued last month, said Iran has amassed about 40kg of uranium enriched to 60 per cent purity, “a short technical step away from weapons-grade levels”.

This is clearly part of Iran’s tactics to push the US and western powers to cave in to its demands for restoring the nuclear deal, including irrelevant terms such as the reported condition of removing the Revolutionary Guard force from the US list of terrorist organisations.

However, the deadlock in the talks and Iran’s decision to escalate its enrichment programme pose a serious risk to the region. Meanwhile, the US looks increasingly unable to come up with a viable strategy to deal with both Iran’s nuclear activities and its belligerent policies in the region.

The latest example of these policies came on Monday when three Revolutionary Guard boats hounded US Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian boats charged onto the American vessels in “an unsafe and unprofessional” manner, according to a US statement. The incident shows the high level of tension in the Gulf amid preparation of US President Joe Biden’s first visit to the region, due next month.

It is in everybody’s interests to have a clear strategy in dealing with the apparent failure of the nuclear deal resuscitation efforts. A strategy based on open constructive dialogue and mutual respect and understanding. Peoples of Middle East, including the Iranian people, aspire for a peaceful, prosperous future in a stable region, shielded from the twisted politics of expansionism.

Source » gulfnews