On Tuesday, Iran warned that it would be able to enrich uranium in the space of only five days if it decided to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with major world powers including the United States. Experts say that Iran would be able to develop a nuclear bomb in a matter of six months to a year. The United States and IAEA are examining the Iranian nuclear threat and this latest threat from Iran is a clear sign of non-cooperation.
However, we must look at the threat carefully. Iran is not saying that it will enrich uranium to a 90% range – the range that is needed to have nuclear weapon capability. It is instead indicating that it will go up to 20% which is where it was at before the deal.
Since the deal was signed, Iran has been obliged to stay within the 3% to 5% range.
This means that Iran will not be weaponized immediately, and adding to this the fact that its sizeable stock of uranium has been run right down.
Iran is trying to scaremonger by saying that it can be ready in five days. One possible reason for making such threats is that Iran wants the deal to remain in place because of economic interests. If the deal was dismantled, Iran would be set to lose out financially in a very significant way.
As it is now, Iran is working on its regional strength and the financial aspect of the deal suits Iran fine.
The deal is also quite lenient on Iran and the regime is greatly concerned that if there is no deal, the Trump administration would enforce much tougher sanctions.
If the deal is in place, there are those who argue that Iran will moderate. They fear that if the deal unravels, Iran will be even more out of control in the region and are frightened of the consequences.
One thing to take from the Iran threat is that Iran has clearly not moved away from its nuclear development program, so the deal has already technically failed.