Iran announced to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it would be removing 27 cameras from nuclear facilities. Director-General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, said he was informed that the cameras, installed in 2003 after Iran’s secret nuclear sites were exposed, were to be taken down on June 8th. While 40 cameras will remain in place, Grossi warned that the removal of these cameras within three to four weeks would result in a “fatal blow” to the Iran nuclear deal. The removals followed the IAEA’s censuring of Iran due to non-cooperation with an investigation into traces of uranium at three undeclared nuclear sites, as reported by BBC. Iran’s non-compliance with the IAEA has been a point of contention as broader negotiations have occurred surrounding the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” following his withdrawal in 2018.

These actions, yet another addition to a pattern of recalcitrance from Tehran, have prompted international dismay surrounding Iran’s ability to strike and adhere to a nuclear agreement. This removal stated Grossi in a press conference,” poses a serious challenge to our ability to continue working there and to confirm the correctness of Iran’s declaration under the [deal],” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement reported by the Washington Post that it was unfortunate that “Iran’s initial response to the board’s action has not been to address the lack of cooperation and transparency” by which it was catalyzed,” but instead to threaten further nuclear provocations and further reductions of transparency” Dina Esfandiary, senior adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at Crisis Group, sees these actions within the greater context of the JCPOA.”While both the US and Iran have dealt with most of the technicalities of returning to the nuclear deal, differences remain in areas that are largely symbolic. As a result, Iran is now lashing out by increasing the pressure” she told CNN.

Iran could utilize these cataclysmic weapons to transfer to a third party, invade its neighbors or increase support for terrorist groups. The nation has repeatedly failed to comply with international efforts, and Iranian nuclear weapons hold the potential to raise tensions and further destabilize the region as other countries become increasingly concerned about their second-strike capabilities. For the Iranian regime, nuclear power extends beyond offense and defense; it is a symbol of national pride, a way to recover their slipping popularity, and a chance to become a regional hegemon. It seems as though, at this point, nuclear weapons would further embolden Iranian aggression and perhaps trigger a sort of arms race in a region that contains Israel, an undeclared nuclear weapons state, and Saudi Arabia, which is also pursuing nuclear capabilities. Since the regime desires nuclear weapons for reasons other than security, strategies that revoke the weapons entirely or provide security guarantees will fail to meet the needs of the regime and will not be possible solutions.

Originally signed in 2015, the JCPOA was an agreement intended to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions. While it allowed Iran to continue peaceful nuclear research and development, the agreement placed limits on Iran’s nuclear progress through steps such as capping uranium enrichment, implementing inspections, and reducing nuclear technology. American departure from the agreement and subsequent Iranian defiance has led to an incredibly volatile situation in the economic center of the MENA region. Negotiations had recommenced in Vienna under the Biden administration, but little progress has been made. ​​

With Iran closer to a nuclear bomb than ever before and stalled negotiations, prospects of a deal are waning, and a nuclear Iran could be potentially disastrous. The weapons increase tensions and instability and have tremendous consequences on national security and diplomacy throughout the region and the globe. The more nuclear the globe, the more dangerous and concrete diplomatic progress must be made to limit Iranian nuclear development for fear of the slippery slope it may trigger.

Source » theowp