On Monday, Tehran announced that its stockpile of low-enriched uranium has exceeded the 300kg limit imposed on it by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the 2015 nuclear deal is formally known. Arguing that the move is intended to pressure Europe into helping the ayatollahs circumvent U.S. sanctions, Emily Landau urges European governments not to give in:
In contrast to those who say that current tensions with Iran are rooted in the fact that the United States exited the nuclear deal last year, the reality is that the problems are grounded in the flawed provisions of the JCPOA itself. . . . Indeed, Iran’s very ability to use uranium enrichment to provoke [the West] is a direct result of one of the major flaws in the JCPOA. . . . [R]ather than strengthening the message that uranium enrichment is unacceptable for a state with a record of lying and cheating in the nuclear realm, the deal unwisely granted legitimacy to Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. And so today Iran can turn up enrichment—by increasing either its stockpile or the level of enrichment—at will.
So far, the Europeans have not reacted strongly to Iran’s crossing of the uranium-enrichment threshold and are treating the current violation as a minor infraction. For the Europeans to continue to attempt to relieve pressure on Iran by circumventing U.S. sanctions would be a grave mistake at this point, and counterproductive to the strategy that the United States is pursuing: maximum pressure on Iran so that it will come back to the table for a better deal. And no strategy has a better chance of achieving that goal than pressure. . . .
Iran cannot be allowed to hold international actors hostage, and to be the one calling the shots. . . . If the Europeans need a reminder about the nature of the Islamic Republic, then they got it [on Tuesday] when the Iranians announced that they can destroy Israel in a half-hour if attacked by the United States. A regime that makes such threats must be tightly held in check, and it certainly cannot be allowed to cross the nuclear threshold.