the United States is preparing new sanctions

The Trump administration is preparing to announce a “deluge” of new sanctions against Iran, in coordination with Israel and its Gulf allies. The question will be at the top of the agenda for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting on Monday, November 16 in Paris with Emmanuel Macron. An exchange is also planned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. The US foreign minister will then visit Turkey, Georgia, Israel, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

→ ANALYSIS. In the Middle East, normalization without peace

A “deluge” of sanctions until January 20

The Trump administration, with the help of the Israeli diplomatic and security establishment, has prepared a list of Iranian entities that will be sanctioned. These sanctions will target Iran’s ballistic missile program, Tehran’s aid to “terrorist” organizations such as Lebanese Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic’s human rights violations. The goal is to impose as many sanctions as possible by January 20, the date of Joe Biden’s inauguration, to increase pressure on Iran and make it more difficult to relaunch the Iran nuclear deal. by the future Democratic administration.

→ EXPLANATION. Sanctions against Iran: the diplomatic battle intensifies

The ballistics program in sight

Since the United States withdrew in 2018, the 2015 agreement has been hanging by a thread, supported at arm’s length by the Europeans (Germany, France, Great Britain), alongside Russia and China. Iran has promised to return to honoring its commitments, if sanctions are lifted. Joe Biden intends to propose to Iran ” a credible way back to diplomacy To return to the nuclear deal, while seeking broader engagement on topics such as the ballistics program and regional activities.

However, Tehran has always refused to negotiate on these issues and the new American sanctions risk blocking any future negotiations with Washington. Joe Biden’s task will be all the more difficult as the auspicious period is short-lived. Less than five months will separate his inauguration from the Iranian presidential election (June 18), which could spell the end of the alliance of reformers and moderates formed around President Hassan Rouhani.

The IAEA calls for “ explanations »

In this context, the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not help. The agency asked Iran for clarification on a suspicious site, ruling “Technically not credible” information provided by Tehran. The IAEA claims “Full and prompt explanations from Iran regarding the presence of anthropogenic uranium particles (resulting from human activities) at an undeclared site”.

The IAEA does not specify the location of the site, but, according to diplomatic sources quoted by AFP, it is a warehouse in the district of Turquzabad in Tehran. “Avoid hasty comments”Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharib Abadi, replied on Twitter. “Despite the technical differences between the two parties, interactions continue in order to reach a resolution of the issue”.

12 times the authorized limit for enriched uranium

The IAEA report also claims that the amount of low enriched uranium accumulated by Tehran now exceeds 12 times the limit authorized by the agreement. This quantity reached, on November 2, 2,442.9 kg for an authorized limit of 202.8 kg (or 300 kg UF6 equivalent). The report also confirms the installation of “Advanced centrifuges” in an underground part of the Natanz plant (center), after another installation on the site was hit in early July by an explosion described as « sabotage » by Tehran.

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