Iran Plays Games with the Geneva Deal – Olli Heinonen and Orde Kittrie (Belfer Center, Kennedy School, Harvard University)
Nearly a month since the six-month Joint Plan of Action with Iran was announced in Geneva on November 24, the two sides have not even agreed on a start date for implementing the deal.
Rather than implementing the deal in good faith, Iran is playing games with it, manipulating the Joint Plan of Action to alter to Tehran’s advantage both the circumstances on the ground and the terms of the deal itself.
As of November 24, Iran was estimated to be less than 6 months away from breakout capability. EU officials say they hope negotiations will be concluded in time for the deal to go into effect in late January.
At the rates at which Iran was enriching uranium in September and October 2013, by January 24, Iran will have created at least an aggregate additional 460 kg. of uranium enriched up to 5% and an aggregate additional 30 kg. of uranium enriched to 20%. In addition, Iran is very likely continuing producing more centrifuges, and its uranium mines and milling facilities are almost certainly continuing to produce and process uranium ore.
What if the Joint Plan is never implemented? Then Iran will apparently have succeeded in significantly advancing its uranium and plutonium production programs while negotiating with the P5+1, and won’t have to roll any of it back.
Moreover, a delayed start date for the Joint Plan of Action gives Iran more time to advance other key parts of its nuclear weapons program, including Iran’s nuclear warhead and ballistic missile research and development activities.
Olli Heinonen was the Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of its Department of Safeguards. Orde Kittrie is a professor of law at Arizona State University.
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