Two areas of Iranian activity in recent times can be seen both as provocative and as tests of the limits that can be reached without incurring serious penalties from the international community: missiles and nuclear.MissilesAlthough UN Security Council Resolution 2231 dealt with Iranian nuclear-weapons capable ballistic missiles, it failed to deal with or even mention the issue of cruise missiles. While this failure had been mentioned in the past, nobody seemed to notice or attach much importance to it. The international community took notice of this lack only following the September 2019 Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities, which employed both cruise missiles and UAVs (drones).That attack not only proved the viability of these Iranian weapons, but showed their capabilities in pre-programmed defense-avoiding routes and their utilization as precise weapons. The known range of the cruise missiles is shorter than the distance from mainland Iran to Israel, and the range of Iranian UAVs is as yet unknown. However, with the emerging presence of Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq, the range issue could perhaps be solved for the Iranians, at the same time forcing Israel to take strong preventive actions, which it did. How long can this go on without causing a major crisis? This question cannot be answered at this time.At the same time, Iran seems to ignore the international opinions regarding medium-range ballistic missiles, and goes on developing them. Medium-range missiles deployed in Iran can hit any Middle East and some European targets. Shorter range missiles could be deployed from Syria and Iraq. Another issue regarding these missiles is their target accuracy, which seems to be getting better, although there still is no open-source information confirming this.The Security Council resolution of 2015 states, “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons... until the date eight years after the JCPOA [the “deal” with Iran] adoption day.” Unfortunately, that absurd date is already not so far away.NuclearIran recently announced that it will again utilize its facility at Fordow for enriching uranium, and did so in the first week of November. It should be recalled that this facility is a well-protected underground enrichment facility which some suspect was intended for the final-stage enrichment of uranium from low-grade to military-grade. According to the JCPOA, the facility should have been exclusively used for the production of non-uranium stable isotopes. This is a serious breach of the deal, the potential of which is perhaps the most serious of the retaliatory steps Iran has taken in response to the US leaving the JCPOA and re-imposing serious economic sanctions on Iran.ALTHOUGH IRAN could be eventually lowering the breakout time – which presently is estimated at around a year – by simply adhering to the JCPOA, its consistent activities in slowly breaking with the technical terms of the JCPOA are already having the effect of lowering that time, bringing Iran closer to the potential of acquiring nuclear-weapons capability faster than the world’s possible reaction time. Not only this, the reopening of the Fordow enrichment facility to uranium enrichment gives Iran the potential to produce military-grade enriched uranium in relative safety.Iran also persists with its lies that it never had military nuclear ambitions, which no one really believes, but which gives to some the alibi for not taking strong action. It also gives some the illusion that, should the JCPOA be reestablished, all will be well for the nuclear issue. Iran never gave up its military nuclear ambitions. It will proceed at a pace dictated by circumstances with its preparations for an eventual breakout, should the decision be taken to do so. If the breakout time will fall below the Iranian estimates for a world reaction time, this will make Iran a de facto nuclear state. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA has given Iran the excuse it needed for the above-mentioned activities reducing the potential breakout time.Can anything be done to remedy this potentially volatile situation? One has to be very optimistic to reply in the affirmative. The present Iranian economic hardships are very serious, but not debilitating. Iran can be a self-sustaining economy. As long as the present regime or a variant thereof is in power, it can go on resisting external pressures for a very long time.If recent experience teaches us anything, it is that Iran will become bolder, both in its regional activities and in the nuclear arena. It is not on the verge of collapse. It could be driven to extremes, but not to give up. This is a situation very different from the Iran-Iraq War, when a compromise was needed to save the country from total catastrophe.Iran is a strong country, both militarily and internally. Time is on its side, and the relative weakness presented by both the US and the European Union helps it enormously.The Americans and the Europeans want renewed talks and a new agreement. The West needs to alleviate the pressure and assure a short-term non-belligerent situation. Iran wants the renewal of talks, which would buy it time. Time is on Iran’s side, and as long as the IAEA and the international community do not indict Iran, it can proceed, probably covertly, with its nuclear development program.It is not unthinkable that one day the situation between the US and Iran will resemble the standoff with North Korea. The present isolationist attitude of the US administration could possibly lead to this. A possible new agreement, replacing the JCPOA, could be reached, if discussions are reopened. This could again postpone the inevitable, but not obliterate it.The writer is a senior research fellow at the INSS.