Iran regime should be punished for its nuclear defiance
The Iranian regime continues to defy the international community, particularly the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the ongoing advancement of its nuclear program. The world must pressure the regime into relinquishing its nuclear ambitions and halting its nuclear program.
The theocratic establishment recently made a significant advancement by tripling its capacity to enrich uranium to 60 percent purity, which is basically a short technical step away from the 90 percent purity required to build a nuclear weapon. This is a threat to the stability and security of the region.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir accurately stated at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week: “I believe that Iran has an obligation to give up its nuclear program. I believe that Iran must be in compliance with the terms of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, if it wants to be a member in good standing of the international community, needs to respect international law, needs to respect international order.”
Enriching uranium to 60 percent is way beyond what was permitted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. Under that agreement, Iran’s uranium enrichment was restricted to only 3.67 percent, which is the level generally used for a civilian nuclear energy program.
As the head of the IAEA Rafael Grossi pointed out at a press conference in Rome last month: “This is not banal. This is something that has consequences. It gives them an inventory of nuclear material for which it cannot be excluded … that there might be another use. We need to go. We need to verify.”
France, Germany and the UK also warned in a statement in November that: “This step (increased enrichment), which carries significant proliferation-related risks, has no credible civilian justification.” Earlier last year, the European trio stated that the Iranian government’s actions were “further reducing the time Iran would take to break out toward a first nuclear weapon and … fueling distrust as to Iran’s intentions.”
One of the critical issues is that the IAEA has been having difficulty monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities. The theocratic establishment has been restricting the ability of the agency’s inspectors to monitor its nuclear sites. In 2021, the regime deactivated many cameras that helped the IAEA monitor Tehran’s nuclear activity.
It is important to point out that the Iranian regime’s violations come at a crucial time, as it was revealed last year that Tehran is building an underground nuclear facility in Natanz that is reportedly extremely difficult to bomb. Even Israel apparently does not have the military capability to take out this underground nuclear site. The president of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, said: “Fordow is already viewed as so deeply buried that it would be difficult to destroy via aerial attack. The new Natanz site may be even harder to destroy.”
The theocratic establishment has been restricting the ability of IAEA inspectors to monitor its nuclear sites.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
One of the reasons that the regime has halted its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog is most likely because Tehran does not want to provide any explanation for its undeclared nuclear sites. Clandestine operations were previously identified by the IAEA at three undeclared locations in Iran. As Grossi warned last June: “We have to sit down, urgently if possible, to see how we continue with this. Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the agency’s findings at three undeclared locations in Iran.”
Another possibility is that the Iranian regime may have decided to begin enriching uranium to 90 percent, the level that is required for the production of nuclear weapons. Zohar Palti, the former head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-military bureau and former Mossad intelligence director, last month stated that Iran is only weeks away from enriching uranium to military-grade levels. He said that Iran “is at a more advanced level than I can ever remember when it comes to uranium enrichment … They are days or weeks away from enriching uranium to 90 percent, which is military-grade.”
In addition, Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva pointed to the notion that Tehran had made “significant progress” toward producing 90 percent-enriched uranium. He said: “The moment is coming when the greatest test of the international community will come to light, when Iran entertains (the idea of) enrichment at 90 percent, even if only symbolically.”
In a nutshell, the Iranian regime should not be allowed to advance its nuclear program, refuse to cooperate with the IAEA and defy international rules without facing any consequences. It is necessary that the international community act before it is too late.
• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.