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Can Biden return to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement”?

Can Biden return to the "Iran Nuclear Agreement"?

Iran used to engage in nuclear weapons, but later gave up. Did you give up 100%? This is a difficult topic to prove. It was at least partially abandoned. The evidence is that after Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons development materials, it hid it in an uninhabited house, and was then taken over by the Israelis. Iranian leaders have repeatedly stated that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. This provides a basis for solving the Iranian nuclear issue. 

The problem is that Iran intends to develop nuclear energy. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty does not restrict the peaceful use of nuclear energy by non-nuclear countries, nor does it draw a clear dividing line between nuclear weapons activities and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. So is Iran completely unrestricted to engage in dual-use activities? Still have to bear some restrictions? This has become a controversial issue. One of the focal points of the dispute is whether and how Iran can carry out uranium enrichment activities.

Uranium enrichment is a typical dual-use activity. Using centrifuges to enrich uranium can increase the content of uranium-235. Uranium-235 content reaches 3%, which is low-enriched uranium, and civilian reactors often use similar low-enriched uranium as fuel; up to 80%, this is high-enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons; 20% is their dividing line.

The United States said that Iran should not engage in uranium enrichment activities, otherwise it would be suspected of developing nuclear weapons; Iran said that I need to enrich uranium for peaceful use of nuclear energy, which is my right; the United States said that if you use it for civilian purposes, you can buy enriched uranium on the international market; Iran Is it not fragrant to say that I use self-produced enriched uranium?

In the Obama era, the five permanent members of the United Nations and the European Union (P5+1) began negotiations with Iran on uranium enrichment. This negotiation is difficult. According to Iran’s caliber, it needs a strong uranium enrichment capacity to produce civilian nuclear fuel. The problem is that a strong uranium enrichment capability will allow Iran to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons in a short time. Therefore, other countries require Iran to own fewer centrifuges; Iran requires more centrifuges. Bargaining is very difficult.

Finally, P5+1 formulated a formula: If Iran uses enough centrifuge horsepower to enrich uranium, it will take at least a year to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. This limit serves as the upper limit of Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, and derives how many centrifuges Iran can keep and how much low-enriched uranium can be stored. Iran agreed to this plan. At this time, another question surfaced.

There are two types of fissile materials for nuclear weapons: highly enriched uranium and weapon-grade plutonium. The problem of uranium enrichment was solved, and the problem of plutonium became prominent. Iran plans to build a heavy-water reactor, the Arak reactor, to produce isotopes. According to the original design, this reactor will accumulate a lot of plutonium after operation. In theory, Iran can obtain fissile material for nuclear weapons from here.

f all parties and Iran bargain over the plutonium issue for a few more years, the daylily will be cold. At this moment, a team of Chinese scientists stepped forward and talked about it like this. The negotiators from all over the world nodded, and a dispute turned into a jade and silk. 5100 words are omitted here and will be filled in by reporters who are interested in writing Chinese stories.

In 2015, P5+1 reached the “Iranian Nuclear Agreement” (JCPOA) with Iran. According to this agreement, Iran limits the scale of its uranium enrichment activities; Iran redesigns and builds the Arak reactor in accordance with the recommendations of Chinese scientists, and China and the United States provide technical assistance; the United States lifts some sanctions on Iran.

China served as the co-leader of the plutonium issue in the implementation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

According to the comments of the International Atomic Energy Agency since then, the implementation of the “Iran Nuclear Agreement” is not bad.

After President Trump took office, he withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Agreement in 2018. There are two logics of the Trump administration. The first logic is that there are two commons: all arms control treaties are bad, and all the Democratic government’s actions are bad. The second logic is slightly more complicated.

The United States has three concerns about Iran: developing nuclear weapons, developing missiles, and opposing the US security framework in the Middle East. 

The “Iran Nuclear Agreement” only restricts Iran’s nuclear weapons and does not restrict the latter two aspects. Trump’s idea for buying and selling is: I want to buy three shares at one price: the sanctions are lifted in exchange for Iran to meet the requirements of the United States in three aspects. Of course Iran will not do it. 

As a result, the United States withdrew from the “Iran Nuclear Agreement” and resumed sanctions. Later, the United States attacked Iran and Iran retaliated. The situation collapsed.

The Biden team has some veterans who participated in the negotiation of the “Iran Nuclear Agreement” and they value this treaty very much. They believe that although the treaty is not satisfactory, it has set restrictions on Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and opened up the demarcation of dual-use activities.

An idea. After the news of the election was announced by the media, there were some positive interactions between the Biden team and the Iranian government. The Biden team expressed their willingness to return to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement”; the Iranian government also stated that as long as the United States lifts sanctions, Iran is willing to abide by the “Iran Nuclear Agreement.”

After the Trump administration withdrew from the “Iran Nuclear Agreement,” Iran has had some retaliatory activities in uranium enrichment. It is not clear whether these activities are symbolic or substantive. This is what the Biden team needs Iran to clarify.

This clarification and verification process may take a while. After entering the White House, Biden needs to step up the implementation of the steps to return to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement,” and he does not have much time. the reason is

Iran will also elect a new president in half a year, and new variables will appear.

There is also a major variable in Trump, who is said to have the idea of ​​attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

If the military conflict resumes, it will be more difficult for Biden to return to the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

If Biden returns to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement”, China and the United States will have to cooperate on the construction of the Arak reactor, because these two countries are the co-leaders of the plutonium issue implementation team of the “Iran Nuclear Agreement”.

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