Iranian nuclear ambition unaffected by Covid-19 outbreak, says Janes

by Janes

Monthly CBRN update from the trusted agency for global open-source defence intelligence reveals ongoing activity across Iran’s nuclear sites

LONDON  – Analysis from Janes – the trusted agency for global open-source defence intelligence – reaffirms the continuation of Iranian nuclear activity in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence update, Janes analysed four Iranian facilities using commercially available satellite imagery. The activity and launch noted at the Shahrud Missile Test Complex in particular indicates that Iran’s missile and space programmes remain largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Janes notes that the new generation of centrifuges slated to be unveiled and stationed at Natanz, as announced by the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), could potentially be in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) restrictions on the Research & Design of centrifuges. Although there is no evidence to indicate that the enrichment levels have increased beyond 4.5% U-235, the revelation of a new generation of centrifuges will likely raise concerns regarding Iran’s persistent breach of the JCPOA limitations.

Escalating tensions in the Gulf

Janes reflects that Iran’s war of words with the United States and statements regarding nuclear and military activities during the pandemic crisis reveal a show of strength directed towards the domestic as well as the international audience.  

“Heightened diplomatic and military tensions between Tehran and Washington in April are likely to continue as the Covid-19 pandemic settles in the following months, fuelled by the US administration’s persistent ‘maximum pressure’ campaign and potential diplomatic manoeuvres, including that of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo positing that the US may still legally be a signatory to the JCPOA, alongside Iran’s increasing economic woes and ballistic missile technology related tests, ” said Srishti Punja, CBRN analyst at Janes. “There is a somewhat high risk of escalation of tensions and direct confrontation between Iran and the US in the Gulf, which has remained subdued since the confrontations in January 2020.”

Analysis from Janes – the trusted agency for global open-source defence intelligence – reaffirms the...

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