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Iran Threats To Quickly Restart Advanced Enrichment Reignite Concerns Over Geneva Deal Asymmetries

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif boasted Wednesday that Iran could resume enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity in less than a day, the latest in a string of statements from top Iranian officials that risk deepening concerns not just about the Islamic republic’s broad intentions but more specifically about the asymmetrical structure of the recently announced Joint Plan of Action (JPA).

Zarif told Iranian students on Wednesday that the agreement signed between the Islamic Republic and six world powers on November 24 in Geneva recognizes Tehran’s nuclear program, and assured them the program will continue. He also noted that “the structure of the sanctions and the antagonistic atmosphere created by the West against Iran is falling apart,” accord to Fars

The JPA requires Iran to at most freeze parts of its program but mandates that the United States and its allies reduce financial sanctions. It positions Tehran to irreversibly pocket billions in relief even as it maintains the ability to restart its atomic program from where it was partially frozen, and at any time. Zarif’s comments are likely to punctuate concerns over the lopsided structure. Meanwhile reports emerged Wednesday that Mohammadreza Bahonar – a prominent Iranian lawmaker who had previously been cited by the Washington Post as a conservative supporter of negotiations – recently floated the possibility that Iran may pursue not just 20% but 60% enrichment should talks break down.

He added that although the US is subject to heavy pressure by the Zionist lobby, it must prove its ability to resist this pressure. The Geneva Agreement is an all or nothing game, and if any article of the agreement is violated, this entire agreement will be considered cancelled.

[Photo: maxintosh / Flickr]