According to recent media reports, Iran announced it would no longer limit its nuclear program in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, negotiated in 2015.
Mark Bell — a University of Minnesota expert on nuclear weapons and proliferation — is available to provide expert comment on the implications of this decision and the rising tensions between the United States and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S. killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
Mark Bell, Ph.D.
“Iran’s decision to ramp up its nuclear program is a predictable response to the U.S. killing of Qassim Suleimani. It also marks a continuation in the deterioration of U.S.-Iranian relations that has occurred since the Trump administration came into office and the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018. Today, both Iranian nuclear acquisition and war between the United States and Iran are more likely.
“Ultimately, Iran has many cards to play in the region, and the United States should not be surprised if it now starts to play them. Nonetheless, Iran’s decision shows some restraint: it has not officially withdrawn from the JCPOA, nor is it yet reducing International Atomic Energy Agency access to its nuclear sites. Both could happen in due course if further escalation occurs.”
Mark Bell is an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. His areas of expertise include nuclear weapons and proliferation, international relations theory and U.S. and British foreign policy.
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