December 16, 2021 | Visual

Exploiting America’s Declining Pressure: Iran’s Nuclear Escalation Over Time

December 16, 2021 | Visual

Exploiting America’s Declining Pressure: Iran’s Nuclear Escalation Over Time

Iran’s nuclear advances have grown in scale and scope since it began overtly violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2019. As the timeline below indicates, Tehran has made its most significant nuclear moves since the election of President Joe Biden, who has softened U.S. policy toward Iran and seeks re-entry into the JCPOA. Many of these steps, such as enriching uranium to 20 and 60 percent purity, producing uranium metal, and operating advanced centrifuges, provide Iran with irreversible knowledge relevant to atomic weapons production. In addition to sanctions relief, Tehran now appears to seek nuclear-threshold status, a position that may render other states unable or unwilling to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon should it decide to do so.

Sources

Political Timeline:

Mark Landler, “Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned,” The New York Times, May 8, 2018.

Tamer El-Ghobashy, Michael Birnbaum, and Carol Morello, “Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear deal,” The Washington Post, May 8, 2019. 

Joe Biden, “There’s a smarter way to be tough on Iran,” CNN, September 13, 2020.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Information Circular, “Communication dated 29 January 2021 from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Agency,” INFCIRC/953, February 2, 2021.

Edith M. Lederer, “Biden Withdraws Trump’s Restoration of UN Sanctions on Iran,” Associated Press, February 18, 2021.

Anne Gearan, Loveday Morris, and Kareem Fahim, “Talks on reviving Iran nuclear deal begin on ‘right track,’ Tehran envoy says,” The Washington Post, April 6, 2021.

“Iran election: Hardliner Raisi will become president,” BBC (UK), June 19, 2021.

Nicole Gaouette, Kylie Atwood, and Jennifer Hansler, “Iran nuclear talks restart as participants draw their lines in the sand,” CNN, November 29, 2021.

John Irish, “Renewed Iran nuclear talks seen Thursday, but France discouraged,” Reuters, December 7, 2021.

Nuclear Timeline:

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/2019/21, May 31, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2019/8, July 1, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2019/9, July 8, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Acting Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2019/12, September 26, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Acting Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/2019/55, November 11, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Acting Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2019/16, November 7, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2021/15, February 23, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Acting Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/2019/55, November 11, 2019.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2020/15, March 3, 2020.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2020/42, September 7, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2020/16, November 17, 2020.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2021/2, January 4, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/2021/10, February 23, 2021.

Patrick Wintour, “IAEA and Iran strike three-month deal over nuclear inspections,” The Guardian (UK), February 22, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2021/15, February 23, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2021/26, April 17, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/2021/28, May 31, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2021/32, June 25, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “Verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015),” GOV/INF/2021/39, August 16, 2021.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Report by the Director General, “NPT Safeguards Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” GOV/2021/52, November 17, 2021.

David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Andrea Stricker, “Analysis of IAEA Iran Verification and Monitoring Report – November 2021,” Institute for Science and International Security, November 19, 2021.

Francois Murphy and Parisa Hafezi, “Iran makes nuclear advance despite talks to salvage 2015 deal,” Reuters, December 1, 2021.

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Exploiting America’s Declining Pressure: Iran’s Nuclear Escalation Over Time

Issues:

Iran Iran Nuclear