The Destruction of an Iranian Nuclear Facility Makes Nuclear Negotiations Meaningless

June 16, 2021 | Hans Rühle
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On April 11, an explosion occurred at the Islamic Republic’s underground uranium-enrichment facility in the city Natanz. It appears that Israeli agents succeeded in placing powerful explosives in the facility, and it is likely that few if any of the centrifuges in the complex remain functioning. While Iran has two other facilities where it can enrich uranium—an aboveground one in Natanz and an underground one in the city of Fordow—the 2015 nuclear agreement prohibits most uranium-enrichment at both. Hans Rühle explains the implications for the Biden administration’s attempts to revive the 2015 deal:

What makes the current situation unique is that Israel has succeeded in crippling Iran’s Natanz uranium-enrichment facility for the unforeseeable future—with a single explosive device and without significant collateral damage. This is particularly important because the 2015 nuclear agreement stipulates that Natanz is Iran’s sole [legal] facility for enriching uranium.

Moreover, since Iran’s part in the agreement consisted essentially of reductions in its enrichment capacity at Natanz, the extensive destruction of that facility would thus have made it objectively impossible for Iran to fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Thus, the [deal] is obsolete and should be terminated; in any case, current developments at Natanz should lead to an indefinite suspension of negotiations.

[W]ith the attack on Natanz, Israel has pulled off a brilliant coup. . . . Israel has no reason to hope that U.S. policies will change fundamentally under the Biden administration. Nice words, which President Joe Biden undoubtedly will deploy, are unlikely to be enough to substitute for action.

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