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Iran’s Nuclear Expansion Sparks U.S. Warning – What’s Next?

Daniel Kim Views  

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced that Iran has recently expanded its uranium enrichment facility. The U.S. has warned that it will respond accordingly.

According to Reuters on the 13th, the IAEA reported that Iran has “rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others.” According to the report, Iran notified the IAEA of its plan to install additional centrifuges on the 9th and 10th, including 174 centrifuges, some of which have already been installed.

Experts speculate Iran’s expansion of its uranium enrichment facility is a countermeasure to the resolution urging Iran to cooperate in nuclear facility inspections at this month’s IAEA regular board meeting. Iran has been resisting the ‘anti-Iran resolution’ influenced by the U.S.

Under the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA·Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signed in 2015, Iran was restricted to only hold 202.8 kg of low-enriched (3.67%) uranium.

The agreement was initially based on lifting economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran halting its nuclear weapons development efforts. However, in 2018, under the Trump administration, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions against Iran.

Consequently, Iran has increased its uranium concentration to 60% and has been growing its stockpile. The production of highly enriched uranium is believed to be Iran’s effort to manufacture nuclear weapons. Moreover, suspicions have emerged regarding secret nuclear activities taking place in unreported facilities in Iran.

To revive the nuclear deal, transparent inspections of nuclear facilities in Iran by the IAEA must be guaranteed. However, Iran has been unresponsive to the IAEA’s verification requests.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, warned, “If Iran implements these plans, we will respond accordingly,” in response to Iran’s plan to install additional centrifuges.

He stated, “Iran must cooperate with the IAEA without further delay to fully implement its legally binding safeguards obligations,” and that “We remain in close coordination with our partners and allies and are prepared to continue to increase pressure on Iran should its non-cooperation with the IAEA continue.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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