As world powers continue the cat-and-mouse game with the Iranian regime and try to resume the nuclear talks in Vienna at all costs, Tehran has accelerated its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. UN nuclear weapons watchdog chief Rafael Grossi has described the current situation as “a very difficult juncture.”

This difficult juncture is thought to be in reference to the Iranian authorities’ refusal to explain the origin of uranium particles found at apparently old but undeclared sites. U.S. and European negotiators consider Tehran’s nuclear program as a political matter based on which they can bargain and continue their ties with the theocratic regime.

Nevertheless, a separate quarterly International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report raised alarm bells about Tehran’s stockpile of 60-percent enriched uranium. According to the report seen by Reuters, “Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, close to the roughly 90 percent that is weapons-grade and in a form that can be enriched further, is estimated to have grown by 9.9 kg to 43.1 kg.”

This is while “For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time,” based on the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by P5+1 countries, including China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the U.S. and the Iranian government in Vienna on July 14, 2015. However, Iranian authorities have stockpiled 43.1 kg of uranium enriched to 60 percent.

For at least two decades, nuclear experts and Iranian dissidents have highlighted Tehran’s potential security threats to global peace and security in view of a lack of a decisive approach against the mullahs’ nuclear extortion and bomb-making projects.

Tehran Stockpiles 43.1 kg of Uranium Enriched to 60 Percent in Flagrant Defiance of the JCPOA Obligations—Source: Reuters
Tehran Stockpiles 43.1 kg of uranium Enriched to 60 Percent in Flagrant Defiance of the JCPOA Obligations—Source: Reuters

The negotiators’ disregard for Grossi’s efforts to obtain answers from Iran has only emboldened the mullahs to carry out their bomb-making program in secret. As always, the West is ignorant of the current confrontation waged by Tehran, as they desperately seek to make new deals, while the regime continues its malign activities in various fields.

“In fact, evidence of Tehran’s true nuclear ambitions has been available for many years,” said Mrs. Clare Lopez, VP for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy. “We might begin with the Aug. 14, 2002 Washington, D.C. press conference during which Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Deputy Director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), revealed publicly for the first time the existence of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

Observers believe that excluding Grossi’s questions from the negotiation process to revive the JCPOA is an irrational acquiescence to the regime’s maximalist demands.

All this has done is to motivate the mullahs to step forward and ask for unreasonable concessions, such as delisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), rather than being held accountable for breaching the JCPOA.

WSJ Reveals Tehran Had Access to Internal IAEA Documents for Two Decades

On May 25, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Tehran had access to the UN nuclear watchdog’s classified files in 2004.

It wrote, “Internal IAEA’s documents, obtained by Iranian intelligence, were sent to top officials amid an investigation into a suspected past nuclear-weapons program.”

Iran used secret U.N. records to evade nuclear probes, the WSJ reported on May 25
Iran used secret U.N. records to evade nuclear probes, the WSJ reported on May 25

Middle East intelligence officials and documents have proven that the regime secured access to secret IAEA reports almost two decades ago. The evidence has shown that copies were circulated among top officials, including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the father of Iran’s nuclear-bomb-making projects, and his deputy Freydoun Abbasi. The journal explained, “They prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons.”

This access to the documents enabled the regime to apply several tactics against the IAEA’s inspections and verification. “The IAEA documents and accompanying Persian-language Iranian records reveal some of the tactics Tehran used with the agency, which is tasked with monitoring compliance with nuclear nonproliferation treaties and the later 2015 nuclear deal,” the paper added.

The Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), repeatedly revealed Tehran’s clandestine activities over the past two decades. The NCRI stated, “The Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program remained secret until 2002 when the NCRI held a press conference revealing a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a Heavy Water plant at Arak.”

They further explained, “The revelations, based on information provided by the social network of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), triggered an investigation by the IAEA that eventually brought the regime’s nuclear file before the UN Security Council for punitive sanctions.”

In the absence of a firm and decisive approach towards the regime’s malign behavior, particularly regarding its nuclear extortion, the mullahs began expanding their activities, enriching and stockpiling more uranium, contrary to the terms of the JCPOA.

In an interview with the state-run Iran News Network on April 9, Tehran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief Mohammad Eslami praised the regime’s nuclear achievements in 2021. He said, “It was an amazing and unique record. We extended the enrichment infrastructure and designed, installed, and exploited a more advanced generation of centrifuges, enriching uranium up to 60-percent purity.”

The regime cited the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 as a reason for breaching its nuclear and nonproliferation commitments. However, long before that, they had already dealt with the inspectors dishonestly.

Iran– Head of Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi admits to breaching JCPOA (January 22, 2019)

On January 22, 2019, in an interview broadcast on the Iranian state-run T.V. Channel Four, then Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi admitted to breaching Iran’s obligations under the Iran nuclear deal 2015, stating, “When our team was in the midst of the negotiations, we knew that [the Westerners] would ultimately renege on their promises. We had bought the same quantity of similar calandria… When they told us to pour cement into the calandria… we said: ‘Fine. We will pour.’ But we did not tell them that we had obtained other calandria.”

Notably, the ayatollahs have spent over $5 trillion on the nuclear-bomb-making program. Observers believe it is unlikely that they follow scientific or civilian purposes while at least 60 million Iranians live below the poverty line. Interestingly, they continue to squander more assets while Iranian families have failed to cover their essential needs due to rampant inflation.

“During the past 20 years, the Iranian people have lost at least $5 trillion because of the clerical regime’ nuclear program. The regime has lied to and misled the world community, including the IAEA, about its true intentions to build nuclear weapons and the needed delivery systems,” Dr. Siamack Shojai, a prominent economist, educator, and former Dean of Business School at the U.S. William Paterson University, told Iran News Update.

The World Shouldn’t Underestimate Tehran’s Nuclear-Bomb-Making Projects

Adrian Calamel, a terrorism and Middle Eastern scholar at the State University of New York has paid close attention over the last 25-years to the nuclear issue. He believes that the U.S. administration should speak with the regime in the language of power and firmness, which they can understand.

In written comments to Iran News Update, he said, “The regime has been trying to develop a nuclear weapon since the beginning of the Rafsanjani presidency. Every time they are caught violating safeguards, there is a feeble response from the West, culminating in the horrible JCPOA. Unfortunately, we are where I believe it’s an inevitability.”

He added, “I believe the U.S. should apply maximum pressure to end Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Two years of actual maximum pressure brought the regime to its knees, and I don’t think they would have survived another two years to jeopardize global peace and security.”

Ellie Cohanim, a former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy, also called on the international community, particularly the U.S. administration, to take a decisive approach toward Tehran’s nuclear extortion. She asked, “A red flag for the U.S. President and world leaders: if the Iranian regime has falsified documents and lied to evade nuclear inspectors in the past, why believe they wouldn’t do it again if you sign a new Iran deal with them?”

World powers should hold the Iranian regime accountable for years of concealment and deception. It is time for firmness against the mullahs who refuse to show mercy to peaceful protesters, let alone foreign nationals. Underestimating Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will only lead to more chaos, instability, and insecurity around the world.