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IRAN MULLAHS DRASTICALLY SPEED UP THEIR NUCLEAR PROGRAM, US ADMINISTRATION SITS IDLY BY


by Majid Rafizadeh - Gatestone Institute  •  June 22, 2024




The Biden administration needs urgently to take decisive action to curb Iran's aggressive nuclear advancements. The US needs to stop its current practice of waiving sanctions on Iran and start reimposing -- and enforcing -- severe sanctions on the country's oil and gas industry. US failure to act will only rapidly lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, significantly upending global stability



Summary:


  • The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently issued an unusually jarring warning, highlighting a development in Iran's nuclear program. IAEA inspectors confirmed that, for the first time, Iran has commenced the process of feeding uranium gas into three cascades of advanced IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment facility.

  • By waiving sanctions on Iran, the Biden administration has effectively provided financial support amounting up to an estimated $100 billion to the mullahs. Worse, the Biden administration has turned a blind eye to Tehran's destabilizing and aggressive policies, both within the region and without.


  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has explicitly articulated his vision for Israel's destruction in his 416-page book, Palestine. This manifesto serves as a detailed guide to eliminating Israel, often referred to in Iran as "The Little Satan," and vehemently condemns the United States, referred to as "The Great Satan."


  • By acquiring nuclear weapons, the regime could also equip its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis -- with these weapons to use against Israel. Using its proxies as its "human shields" allows Iran's regime to maintain plausible deniability, so it can continue hiding behind them while escalating the real threat to Israel, which is Iran itself.


  • The Biden administration needs urgently to take decisive action to curb Iran's aggressive nuclear advancements. The US needs to stop its current practice of waiving sanctions on Iran and start reimposing -- and enforcing -- severe sanctions on the country's oil and gas industry. The US also needs to cut off the financial flow to the regime by imposing secondary sanctions: any country that does business with Iran may not do business with the United States.


  • US failure to act will only rapidly lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, significantly upending global stability and providing a potential vacuum for America's adversaries to fill.


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The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently issued an unusually jarring warning, highlighting a development in Iran's nuclear program. IAEA inspectors confirmed that, for the first time, Iran has commenced the process of feeding uranium gas into three cascades of advanced IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment facility. These cascades, which consist of multiple centrifuges working in unison, increase the efficiency of uranium enrichment by spinning the uranium gas at extremely high speeds, allowing Iran to enrich it at a much faster rate and significantly reducing the time required to produce nuclear weapons.


Iran is already enriching uranium to 84%, alarmingly close to the 90% enrichment level of weapons-grade uranium. Iran therefore may well be on the brink of acquiring the necessary material for nuclear bombs.


Iran's rapid advancement of its nuclear weapons program comes at a time when the Biden administration not only seems inactive toward countering Iran – it appears to be saving all its muscle for Israel -- but also has been supporting the actions of groups that back terrorism, whether the Taliban in Afghanistan -- who were gifted billions in state-of-the-art US military equipment and a $773 million US embassy, or Qatar with its US Al Udeid airbase, funding Hamas, controlling Gaza, or Iran, shooting at US servicemen and using Yemen's Houthis to close off shipping in the Red Sea.


By waiving sanctions on Iran, the Biden administration has effectively provided financial support amounting up to an estimated $100 billion to the mullahs. Worse, the Biden administration has turned a blind eye to Tehran's destabilizing and aggressive policies, both within the region and without.


Those policies include Iran's ongoing support for terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthis. The combination of financial aid and lack of any accountability has bolstered Iran to pursue its nuclear weapons ambitions with increased fervor, fueling wars in Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq; and recently killing three US troops and wounding at least 186 others, 130 with traumatic brain injuries. Iran has effectively closed off all commercial shipping in the Red Sea, forcing ships to detour around Africa. Other than that, Iran has clearly "come in from the cold" and is behaving as an ideal neighbor.


Avigdor Lieberman a member of Israel's Knesset (Parliament) and a former defense minister, recently made a disturbing statement during an interview with Israel's Army Radio. He warned that Iran is "planning a Holocaust for us in the next two years." The declaration underscores the immediacy of the threat to Israel. This unsetting prediction is consistent with the Iranian regime's longstanding, deeply ingrained religious prophecy that envisions the complete annihilation of Israel.


Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has explicitly articulated his vision for Israel's destruction in his 416-page book, Palestine. This manifesto serves as a detailed guide to eliminating Israel, often referred to in Iran as "The Little Satan," and vehemently condemns the United States, referred to as "The Great Satan." Khamenei's book and the regime's rhetoric highlight the persistent hostility that underpins Iran's actions towards Israel.


Iran appears to have accelerated its nuclear program for several reasons. First, the regime sees an opportunity thanks to the Biden administration's inaction and perceived weak leadership, allowing Iran to advance its destabilizing activities without suffering any repercussions. Second, there is likely a looming fear within the regime that former President Donald Trump, known for his stringent "maximum pressure policy" on Iran, might return to power in the upcoming US presidential elections. Third, Iran, with one exception -- on April 13, 2024, when for the first time, the regime itself attacked Israel with more than 300 missiles and drones -- has intensified its conflict with Israel by utilizing its proxies.


From the Iranian leadership's point of view, possessing nuclear weapons would significantly strengthen their position and finally secure a "complete victory" over Israel. Last, by acquiring nuclear weapons, the regime could also equip its proxies -- Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis -- with these weapons to use against Israel, to spare Iran the indignity of being hit back. Using its proxies as its "human shields" allows Iran's regime to maintain plausible deniability, so it can continue hiding behind them while escalating the real threat to Israel, which is Iran itself.


The Biden administration needs urgently to take decisive action to curb Iran's aggressive nuclear advancements. The US needs to stop its current practice of waiving sanctions on Iran and start reimposing -- and enforcing -- severe sanctions on the country's oil and gas industry. The US also needs to cut off the financial flow to the regime by imposing secondary sanctions: any country that does business with Iran may not do business with the United States. Such measures are critical to limiting Iran's resources and hindering its ability to further its nuclear program.


If Iran persists in its uranium enrichment activities, the United States might consider targeting the training bases of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its oil refineries or some of the many other possible targets, to delay or dismantle its nuclear capabilities.


US failure to act will only rapidly lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, significantly upending global stability and providing a potential vacuum for America's adversaries to fill.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

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