Countermeasures against US economic sanctions Why Iran is restrained? September 5, 20:00
Iran, which has been "breaking the limits" of the nuclear agreement in stages following the US economic sanctions, announced a new countermeasure on the 4th.
This is to promote the research and development of a new centrifuge used for uranium enrichment, which is less restrictive than the international community was concerned about.
What is the background? (Tehran Takeshi Togawa)
"Measures that are not shocking"
On the night of the 4th, Iran's state-run broadcaster reported the press conference live.
It was an unusual press conference with the head of administration, President Rouhani, in the center, and the head of parliament and the judiciary both sides. This is a much heavier team than the presidential office spokespersons of the same announcement last July.
I felt there was a serious announcement.
It was President Rouhani, who had a stern expression.
“In the future, without being limited by nuclear agreements, we will continue to research and develop various types of new centrifuges.”
While repeating the word “research and development,” the conference ended in about 15 minutes.
Centrifuges used for uranium enrichment activities are strictly limited by the nuclear agreement, and the types and number of bases that can be used are severely limited. R & D alone is still limited and should only be carried out in accordance with prior plans.
This countermeasure is limited to the research and development of centrifuges and breaks the limits of the nuclear agreement.
This will increase Iran's nuclear development capacity in the long run, but as long as the limits on uranium enrichment levels are observed, it will not immediately approach the production of nuclear weapons.
As Rouhani himself stated in a cabinet meeting before the announcement that it was “not a shocking measure,” the content was less restrictive than the international community was concerned about.
The limit of patience unfairly
In the first place, the reason why Iran began to break the limits of the nuclear agreement is the “unfairness” that Iran feels.
The nuclear agreement originally meant that in return for limiting Iran's nuclear development, sanctions against Iran were lifted and economic benefits were obtained.
However, last year, the American Trump administration unilaterally withdraws from this agreement and reinstates sanctions on Iran. With the withdrawal of foreign companies one after another, crude oil exports that support the Iranian economy no longer remain.
Because American sanctions cover all companies that deal with Iran, European countries such as France, which participate in the nuclear agreement, have been forced to significantly reduce their business with Iran.
Although Iran has endured this unfair situation for a year, it is required to continue the restrictions on nuclear development, even though the economic benefits promised by the nuclear agreement cannot be obtained. I started to say I won't keep my promise.
Professor Marandi of Tehran University, who is familiar with Iranian politics and economics, said, “While violating the nuclear agreement, Europe, which does not offer economic benefits, is also completely violating. I ’m just balancing. ”
The core of the agreement "Uranium enrichment"
Among the countermeasures taken by Iran, the issue of raising the uranium enrichment level, which was taken in July, is particularly relevant to the nuclear agreement. The enrichment of uranium, which has been limited to 3.67%, has been raised to 4.5%.
Nuclear power plant fuels with a concentration of 3% to 5% are used.
On the other hand, to make a nuclear bomb, it is necessary to increase the enrichment to 90% or more.
Iran has warned that as a future measure, increasing uranium enrichment to 20% is an option. It is said that it takes a relatively short time to increase the enrichment level from 20% to over 90% of weapons grades, and the US and Europe are most wary of raising the uranium enrichment level.
The reason Iran's measures are said to be restrained is because they have not stepped into it.
Is $ 15 billion right now?
Iran had negotiated diplomatic negotiations with other countries until just before the announcement of countermeasures.
The most important partner is France.
In addition to the electrified visit from the French minister Zalef last month during the G7 Summit, he met with President Macron, and on the 2nd of this month, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Araguchi visited Paris to discuss the French side for 10 hours. The
As a result of the discussions, France revealed that it had proposed a $ 15 billion loan backed by Iranian crude oil, and Iranian government officials even raised the voice that “it may not take the next step”.
President Rouhani himself praised the French proposal, saying, “We did not reach the final step, but initially there were three disagreements in 20 opinions.”
I can get $ 15 billion in a little more. We will refrain from stubborn measures to turn the international community into enemies, and continue discussions. There may be such calculation on the Iranian side in this measure that was restrained.
Is there a change in the Trump administration against Iran's “most compulsory”?
But I can't just be optimistic about French proposals.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran. Even if a European financial institution lends to Iran in accordance with the French proposal, it will still be subject to American sanctions without the permission of the United States.
It is not clear whether the United States will accept the French proposal, that is, whether it agrees to relax sanctions.
On the 4th, the Trump administration sent two conflicting signals to Iran and the international community. President Trump said about the meeting with Iran ’s President Rouhani, saying, “There is a possibility. We will negotiate directly with the Iranian government.” It is.
However, on the same day, the US State Department announced that it would impose additional sanctions against Iran, reemphasizing its policy not to relieve pressure.
Is there a possibility that the Trump administration and Iran will have a dialogue?
Iran claims that sanctions are lifted first.
From Iran, it seems that the United States says “I want to talk to you”, but it doesn't seem to expose the environment.
Supreme Leader Hammenei refuses to talk, saying that `` negotiation with the United States is poisonous '', and President Rouhani is negative that `` If you just want to fit in the picture together, such a story will not be realized '' is. Furthermore, Iran has a strong sense of caution in approaching President Trump, who has unilaterally cut off the nuclear agreement.
Iran defeated the then pro-American government in the revolution 40 years ago, and then severed diplomatic relations with the United States. If the summit between the two countries is realized, it will be the first time after the revolution.
However, at this point, I have to say that there are extremely high barriers to the realization of the summit. In order to overcome this barrier, the future focus will be whether there will be a specific compromise in the past two weeks before the United Nations General Assembly where both leaders attend.
Takeshi Togawa, Head of Tehran Branch