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Montevideo, December 3rd 2022 - 19:06 UTC

 

 

Iran's nuclear progress raising eyebrows among western powers

Wednesday, November 23rd 2022 - 10:05 UTC
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“We have seen Iran directly support Russia’s efforts to kill Ukrainians,” Kirby said “We have seen Iran directly support Russia’s efforts to kill Ukrainians,” Kirby said

Iran's expansion of its nuclear capabilities in defiance of the non-proliferation agreement has caused concern in Washington, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby explained.

The official Tuesday addressed the “progress of Iran's nuclear program” and “the steady improvement of its ballistic missile capabilities.”

“The production of 60% enriched uranium began at Fordo on Monday,” Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Chief Mohammad Eslami announced Tuesday, according to the ISNA news agency.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the start of “highly enriched uranium” production at Fordo and recalled that the Islamic Republic had already relaunched “such production at Natanz in April 2021.”

The Vienna 2015 agreement regarding Iran's nuclear development program, states that Tehran cannot exceed 3.67% enrichment. A nuclear bomb requires a uranium enrichment level of 90%. The deal signed by Britain, France, Germany, the United States, China, and Russia provided for the lifting of international sanctions in exchange for guarantees that Iran would not develop atomic weapons. The document is little more than a declaration on paper after 2018 when then-President Donald Trump reinstated economic sanctions. Iran has since broken its commitments, albeit insisting that it is only for civilian purposes.

The Iranian decision has “no civilian justification” and “defies the nuclear nonproliferation system,” said the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in a joint statement, while the United States also expressed its “deep concern” about the situation.

In retaliation for the US sanctions, Iran claimed in January 2021 that it was working to enrich uranium to 20%. Several months later, another Iranian facility in Natanz (center) reached the 60% mark. As per the 2015 agreement, the Islamic Republic had also agreed to freeze activities at the Fordo plant, some 180 kilometers south of Tehran, built underground to protect it from possible bombing.

Despite US President Joseph Biden's intentions to rekindle the Vienna deal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that he sees little chance of success in the face of the violent crackdown on demonstrations sparked in Iran in September by the death in custody of young Mahsa Amini, arrested for not abiding by the Islamic dress code.

The UN's IAEA on Thursday passed a resolution criticizing Iran's lack of cooperation, following a similar pronouncement in June, citing the absence of “technically credible” answers from Iran over traces of enriched uranium found at three undeclared facilities.

In this scenario, a Taiwanese technology company has halted its business in Iran while it investigates whether it violated international sanctions, as the US ramps up scrutiny of Iran’s military and weapons production amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

ATEN International has stopped accepting orders from Iran and exporting their products to the country following concerns raised by the nonprofit group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).

Iran appears to be sourcing the materials for its drone program despite efforts by the US, Europe, and other allies to isolate the regime with sanctions.

“We have seen Iran directly support Russia’s efforts to kill Ukrainians,” Kirby also told reporters Tuesday.

Categories: Politics, International.

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