European Powers Criticize Iran, But ‘Concerns’ Ring Hollow

Nations warn Iran threatens chances of deal with Biden

The western European members of the Iranian nuclear deal issued a joint statement on recent Iranian moves, expressing deep concerns about the increased uranium enrichment, and warning that they were putting the chances for a deal with Biden at risk.

All the statement really did was mirror the objections of the Trump administration to Iran’s increases to its civilian nuclear program, complaining that there is “no credible civil justification” for them. And yet they are plainly purely civil in nature.

Iran’s parliament ordered increases in the program after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November. His killing was believed to be an Israeli attack, and parliament wanted to express its displeasure.

The Rouhani government has tried to limit this specifically to avoid threatening a deal with Biden. Since Iran’s increased enrichment is totally reversible, there is little reason to believe that would be an obstacle.

Iran uses 20% enriched uranium to make fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor. Though Iran may not be in a specific moment of need for more fuel rods just now, parliament believes that the message sent is justification itself.

20% is only for civilian use, and far short of the 90% needed for weaponization. Iran has produced up to 20% before, but never attempted to go beyond that. Claims of a military dimension are just not well-founded.

And really, that’s all that was needed to do this. Iran can either make fuel rods as needed, or dilute it back down to lower levels for more immediate use if diplomacy makes that a preferred route. None of this should negatively impact negotiations, and merely gives Iran more leverage when the talks begin.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.