But Tehran is expected to demand compensation for the economic damage caused by sanctions and other US concessions during the last few years while Donald Trump was US President.
Sanam Vakil, deputy head of Chatham House’s MENA Programme, said: “This is a double edged sword, both for the Iranians and the Biden administration.
“The Iranians are wary of returning to the table too quickly, while for Biden, the optics are quite difficult to justify giving in to the Islamic Republic and giving in to pressure tactics, particularly in light of the past criticism of the deal.”
Anne Harrington, professor of international relations and a specialist in nuclear non-proliferation at Cardiff University in Wales, told CNBC: “Iran appears to be trying to maximise its leverage with the Biden administration in the hope that the US will agree to re-enter, rather than attempt to renegotiate, the JCPOA.”
The head of the global atomic watchdog warned yesterday that world powers and Iran had weeks, not months to save the nuclear accord once Mr Biden takes office on January 20.
Iran’s minimum threshold for a crude nuclear weapon is 400kg of uranium enriched to 20 percent U-235.
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief said last week that Iran plans to stockpile 120kg of this 20 percent enriched uranium annually.
The new law also means Tehran can block inspections by the UN watchdog by February if sanctions aren’t lifted, despite IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites currently being allowed.
Iran has long argued that its nuclear development is only for peaceful purposes, and has defended its incremental breaches of the JCPOA’s parameters since July 2019 as a response to U.S. sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, shared Harrington’s prediction. “By upping the nuclear ante, Tehran is hoping to create a crisis, a crisis which it hopes the U.S. will defuse with premature sanctions relief.”
He added The moves are “a marker of how comfortable the regime is with taking risks,” said Ben Taleblu. “This is also a leverage-seeking exercise in advance of the upcoming political transition in Washington.”
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