Tehran may resume nuclear program's military component
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit on June 9, including with the Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani. The presidents will discuss several issues on the regional agenda, including the situation surrounding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran's nuclear program and preparations for the Fifth Caspian Summit.
Commenting on the possible consequences of the US withdrawal from the agreement with Iran on the nuclear program, senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Sazhin said: "Extensive work in Iran's nuclear infrastructure is required to meet all the requirements of the JCPOA and subsequent agreements between Iran and the P5+1. For example, the activity of two uranium enrichment plants should be changed. And most importantly, the most expensive is to reformat the heavy water reactor. This is a very difficult technical problem. The Iranians have almost completed its construction before 2015, and according to the plan, this reactor was supposed to produce 9 kilograms of plutonium per year, which is enough to build one nuclear plutonium bomb. This plutonium must be under the control of the IAEA or be exported to other countries. Technically, it is very complex and expensive. China and the United States were appointed to deal with it. Now the United States left, and it will be quite difficult for China. This is just one example, and the US has been involved in many programs that meet IAEA requirements to reduce the level of danger from the Iranian nuclear infrastructure."
According to the expert, if the JCPOA continues to function in other formats without the United States, then the difficulties will be great: "It is possible that the final solution to this problem will be prolonged. If Europe swallows the US demands and withdraws from the deal, it means that the sanctions against Iran, which the US plans to introduce on August 6 this year, will affect the entire European business. And if the European business withdraws from Iran, the JCPOA will collapse. It will lead to very undesirable consequences both in the region and in Iran. Officials said if the JCPOA collapses, Iran will resume its nuclear program. I do not doubt that the military component of this program will be also renewed. Thus Iran will come back to 2010-2011, when the situation around Iran was complex, back then they said almost every day that Israel and the US (together or separately) would strike Iran's nuclear facilities. It could happen if Iran resumed its nuclear program without the IAEA control, that is, in its own way."