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Talks about the Iran Nuclear Deal. | Wiki­media Commons

Per usual, Iran is making a nui­sance of itself.

It announced last week that it will be ignoring the restraints on nuclear research and uranium enrichment set out in the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Com­pre­hensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). And once again, ten­sions between Iran and the West rise.

In May 2018, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA, reim­posed sanc­tions, and left the JCPOA’s other sig­na­tories — E.U., U.K., China, and Russia — to deal with a grumpy, eco­nom­i­cally-injured Iran.

When it fell into a severe recession, Iran issued a deadline to the Euro­peans telling them to ease its eco­nomic troubles, or else the Iranian Atomic Energy Orga­ni­zation would start breaking JCPOA stip­u­la­tions. The European coun­tries did not give the Ira­nians what they wanted, hence the announcement from Iran’s Atomic Energy Orga­ni­zation last week that it would be pushing past the limits of the JCPOA.

Foreign Min­istry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that this was Iran’s response not just to the Euro­peans unwill­ingness to cushion its financial dif­fi­culties, but also to the U.S. for pulling out of the JCPOA in 2018 and putting Iran in its present dif­fi­culties with reim­posed sanc­tions.

Behrouz Kamal­vandi, spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Orga­ni­zation, said that along with boosting the nuclear research, the Islamic Republic is planning to start enriching uranium again to add to their uranium stockpile. And he added that in the next few weeks, there will be a large increase in the size of that stockpile.

“As long as the other side do not fulfill their com­mit­ments, we should not be expected to do so either. Our stockpile will go high from now on,” Kamal­vandi said.

The steps Iran has taken thus far in ignoring the JCPOA is all just a game of pres­suring the U.S. and Europe enough to maybe get nego­ti­ation talks started, but not closing off diplomacy.

Iran is the toddler waving his finger dan­ger­ously close to his sister but not really poking her. It’s aggra­vating and con­cerning, but not worth a slap on the wrist just yet. Instead, the U.S. and European nations will do what they always think will solve problems: they will try to rene­go­tiate.

So far, the Euro­peans have been par­tic­u­larly useless in dealing with Iran and it appears they were waiting for the U.S. to get back in the game with new nuclear nego­ti­a­tions. They avoided any steps that would cause the JCPOA’s col­lapse, pleaded with Iran to stop breaking rules, and implored the U.S. to rejoin the JCPOA and lift sanc­tions.

They made a feeble attempt at being the mid­dleman, keeping the JCPOA from falling apart, while also dis­ap­prov­ingly shaking their heads at Iran.

“This third step away from its com­mit­ments under the nuclear deal is par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­pointing at a time when we and our European and inter­na­tional partners are working hard to de-escalate ten­sions with Iran,” the U.K. foreign office said.

The stage for nego­ti­a­tions will likely be the U.N. General Assembly, which will open Sept. 17. Trump has already said that he might meet with Iranian Pres­ident Hassan Rouhani. Iran will keep insisting on sanc­tions relief before any meeting, but the Trump admin­is­tration has already indi­cated that the only sanc­tions relief Iran will get will be after they come back to the nego­ti­ating table.

The U.S. pulled out of the JCPOA but still wants a nuclear deal with Iran, and has now found the chance to nego­tiate a new one. For some non­sen­sical reason, Wash­ington still believes that nego­ti­a­tions could fix the problem.

Granted, the 2015 JCPOA was a ter­rible agreement. It was nat­u­rally weak since it attempted to both appease and limit Iran by lifting sanc­tions and also hinder its nuclear program.

But no one can expect Iran to stick to a new agreement, whatever the stip­u­la­tions may be. Iran doesn’t like the West and has been in tension with the U.S. since the birth of its Islamic Republic in 1979. Nego­ti­a­tions or even a new agreement is not going to change the nature of the Islamic Republic or lessen ten­sions. Iran is dia­met­ri­cally opposed to the U.S. and its involvement in the region, as is evident in so many areas. Any­where that the U.S. is even mildly involved in the Middle East, Iran puts itself on the opposing side. Just look at the con­flicts in Syria and Yemen, and the con­tention in the Straits of Hormuz. It’s always Iran verse the U.S.

If the European nations want to stay in an agreement with Iran, let them. But the U.S. shouldn’t be too eager to strike a new deal. And if it does strike a deal, it cer­tainly shouldn’t expect dif­ferent results or a change in Iran’s behavior.