A recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed a significant increase in the Iranian regime’s stockpile of enriched uranium, intensifying concerns surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.
The report, prepared just before the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, highlights the agency’s assessment of the regime’s enriched uranium stockpile, which now exceeds 23 times the amount agreed upon in the 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers.
This revelation comes as the nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime—which have been in a state of limbo for months—and the appeasement policy pursued by Western governments continue to spark intense debate and scrutiny.
The primary objective of these negotiations was to address concerns about the regime’s nuclear program and prevent the development of nuclear weapons. However, questions have been raised regarding the effectiveness of these negotiations and the approach taken by Western governments, a point further driven by the IAEA’s latest report.
Critics argue that Western governments, particularly the United States, have been overly lenient in their diplomatic efforts, culminating in agreements like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. They contend that this approach has failed to adequately address Iran’s ambitions and its non-compliance with international obligations.
According to the IAEA report, as of May 13, 2023, the Iranian regime’s total enriched uranium reserves have reached 4,744.5 kilograms. This marks a substantial rise from the previous estimate in February, where the regime possessed around 3,760 kilograms of uranium, with 87.5 kilograms enriched to 60%.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action permits the regime to possess up to 202.8 kilograms. The IAEA Director General has warned that the regime now has enough uranium to potentially produce multiple nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, the report reveals that the regime continues to enrich uranium beyond the 3.67% limit specified in the JCPOA.
Despite these alarming activities, which clearly indicate the regime’s intention to acquire enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, Western countries persist with a contradictory and weak policy in confronting the regime.
The policy of appeasement, characterized by a willingness to make concessions and seek diplomatic solutions, has drawn criticism for potentially enabling the regime’s nuclear ambitions rather than effectively curbing them. Critics argue that Tehran has used negotiations as a means to buy time and continue its nuclear activities covertly.
Amidst ongoing negotiations and discussions, striking the right balance between diplomatic engagement and preventing nuclear proliferation remains a pressing challenge for Western governments and the international community.
In another development, the IAEA has decided to close the case related to traces of uranium found at one of the regime’s undisclosed nuclear facilities. This issue had strained relations between Iran and the agency in recent years, as reported by AFP.
Additionally, Axios news agency reported, citing American, Israeli, and European officials, that Brett McGurk, the US National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, discussed the possibility of diplomatic contact with the regime regarding nuclear talks during his visit to Oman in early May, approximately four weeks prior.
Robert Malley, the US Special Envoy for Iran, reiterated that the US government is keeping all options on the table to prevent the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons. In an interview with NPR, Malley stated that if the regime’s actions indicate the pursuit of nuclear weapons, the United States will employ all necessary means to deter such efforts. He emphasized that the Biden administration is committed to taking requisite measures while favoring diplomacy to prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Direct nuclear talks between Western countries and the regime have been stagnant since July 2022, with no visible signs of progress. However, there is speculation among some observers that undisclosed negotiations are taking place between Western countries, including the United States.
In recent weeks, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman has taken on a more active role, suggesting increased involvement in facilitating discussions between the regime and Western nations. Additionally, officials from the regime have been making alternating visits to Oman, hinting at potential diplomatic engagements.