Why Iran continues to violate terms of nuclear deal
Yesterday, Tehran refused to fulfill obligations under the nuclear deal for the fourth time and began using centrifuges to enrich uranium at a nuclear facility in Fordow. Under the terms of the nuclear agreement, this fuel enrichment plant in the city was planned to be converted into a research center without any possibility of producing U-235 radioactive element enriched up to 20%, in which a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is possible. Due to this, the element is used as fuel in nuclear reactors and can be one of the main elements in the production of nuclear weapons.
Iran motivates decision to not comply with terms of the nuclear agreement by failure of the European Union to get around US sanctions. Iran still didn't receive money as a result of creation of financial transactions mechanism with the EU, and the INSTEX settlement mechanism proposed by Europeans has not been implemented. Tehran thinks that desire of European diplomats to maintain their share in the Iranian energy market without crossing the road of Washington is passive at best. Iran understands that for the US, sanctions pressure on Tehran is one of the keys to weakening China’s economic potential.
In addition, Tehran finds it humiliating that it's forced to participate in more negotiations on the nuclear program, given the current state of Iranian economy, as well as the fact that Iran wasn't the initiator of disruption of the nuclear agreement. The conditions that the EU put forward for projects bypassing the US sanctions policy seem unacceptable to Tehran.
Iran initially approached the issue of nuclear agreement based on its own financial interests. Finances is the most important topic for Iran. Parties to the deal promised Iran it will get back everything it lost due to many years of sanction pressure. However, neither the EU, nor the United States couldn't compensate for damages Iran received in the automotive industry, aviation, banking, gold trading, not to mention the sale of oil. Instead, the EU offered free assistance in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and agriculture. Absolutely none of the parties to the deal is ready to pay Iran directly. That's why Tehran doesn't trust European business, which was so quick to withdraw its assets from Iran. This applies to such major players as Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom, Peugeot, and, of course, French company Total S.A., whose indecision led to the fact that multi-billion dollar deal to develop the South Pars field was lost. Iranian leadership makes it clear to its European partners that the Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't need humanitarian assistance, but expects full economic cooperation.
In this situation, Washington’s cynical politicians may interpret Tehran’s partial refusal to comply with the deal as desire to develop nuclear bomb. Although world experts have noted time ago that demonization, threats, and other manifestations of the "unsportsmanlike" behavior of the Trump administration indicate that the head of the White House uses this only as a tactical device and as part of his business approach. Trump's “hawks”, like himself, prefer to put pressure on their opponents to force them to sit at the negotiations table on their terms. But it makes no sense to threaten Iran, and it’s more expensive to fight against it. The price of oil will skyrocket, and then no sanctions will help to bankrupt Iran. After all, elections in the US are coming up, primaries are pretty costly, and before the election any words of the president are nothing more than rhetoric.
Today, Iran’s main enemy is time, or, more precisely, long-term perspective, which, due to existing restrictions, seems very vague to the authorities of the Islamic Republic. Sanctions can last forever, they are aimed at destroying the potential of Iran not immediately, but slowly.
That's why Iran is looking for other sources of income in return for income it lost from the sale of oil. The Islamic Republic will always find where to sell expensive products of its nuclear energy industry. Many countries would like to join the club of nuclear powers, including countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. Uranium is the only fuel that allows electricity to be produced without emission of greenhouse and other gases that poison the nature. In China, where people are choking on emissions, 13 nuclear reactors are being built today, 48 are already operational, and 30 are planned to be commissioned soon. Six similar reactors are being built in India, and 22 are already operational. Accordingly, the demand for heavy water will only grow over time. If the West has no other proposals for Iran, other than pharmaceutical and agricultural products, then Iran itself will find new financial opportunities.