“The Iranian regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions”, Mike Pompeo said earlier this week, in a statement responding to news that Tehran had, as promised, exceeded a limit on stockpiles of enriched uranium.
“The Trump administration calls on the international community to restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran’s nuclear program”, Pompeo continued.
As ever, there was no hint that the administration is prepared to acknowledge the glaring irony inherent in demanding that the international community compel Iran to cease nuclear provocations, when it was Donald Trump who unilaterally scrapped a landmark agreement designed specifically to ensure that Tehran would not obtain a bomb.
In the simplest possible terms, Iran was not violating the nuclear accord and wouldn’t be doing so now had the US not undermined the deal on the way to imposing draconian sanctions on 80% of Iran’s economy.
On Wednesday, President Rouhani took things up another notch. “If you don’t meet all your commitments according to the timetable and plans, the Islamic Republic will restore the Arak reactor to its previous condition”, Rouhani said, according to Mehr.
“You”, was a reference to the European powers, who tried to salvage the deal first by reasoning with Trump and then, when that failed, by setting up a special purpose vehicle to promote trade with Tehran. That SPV (Instex) is now operational, but because it likely won’t be capable of facilitating large transactions in Iranian crude, Tehran has essentially declared it useless.
In addition to breaching the stockpile limit, the country’s atomic energy agency last month warned Iran would also exceed a threshold on uranium enrichment meant to ensure Tehran doesn’t possess weapons-grade material. “One scenario is that we will define 3.67 for the Bushehr power station, which needs 5% [enriched uranium] or if we define for the needs of the Tehran Research Reactor, it will be 20%. Various scenarios have been envisaged”, a spokesman told reporters at the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility on June 17.
Rouhani underscored that on Wednesday. “Our level of enrichment will no longer be at 3.67%”, he flatly stated. “We put aside this commitment and will increase enrichment as we please”.
Needless to say, Trump isn’t pleased with that. “Iran has just issued a New Warning”, the President tweeted, on the eve of what promises to be a wholly ridiculous Fourth of July spectacle in DC.
“Rouhani says that they will Enrich Uranium to ‘any amount we want’ if there is no new Nuclear Deal”, Trump continued, before advising Iran to “be careful with the threats” because “they can come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before!”
It wasn’t immediately clear what scale Trump was using to evaluate the relative strength of historical instances of people being bitten, nor was it clear what, exactly, he meant by “bite”.
In case Iran didn’t get the message (or in case they got it and laughed at Trump’s signature middle-school cadence), the president will get an opportunity to show off some of America’s hardware on Wednesday during a Third World-style military parade brought to you by the National Park Service (which was forced to divert $2.5 million in funds to the tacky, despotic extravaganza) and, naturally, “Fireworks by Grucci”.