Constant US-Israel vows to halt Iranian nuclear bomb armament are more pointless that ever with Tehran advancing unstopped on this goal. The banned Fodow underground plant is already enriching uranium up to 87.3pc grade. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said this week: “Make no mistake – Iran will not be satisfied with a single nuclear bomb. So far Iran has gained material enriched to 20pc and 60pc, [enough] for five nuclear bombs.”
Iran indeed is making no secret of the progress of its nuclear program. While claiming that the product at Fordow is of no more than 60pc purity, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have procured evidence of an 87.3pc grade product. They point out that this is enough to make the jump to weapons grade a technicality. Tehran believes that this bunker-site is impregnable to attack.
Mohammed Eslami, head of Iran’s nuclear energy commission, used the inauguration of a new uranium enrichment plant (see photo) at the central town of Saghand this week to announce that another 10 enrichment installations would be established by the end of the year with the capacity for a 50pc grade output. The new plants would come on top of the eight already working.
There is common consent on the reason why the Islamic Republic feels confident of getting away with marching without pause on a nuclear bomb, in breach of all its commitments and in defiance of all penalties. US President Joe Biden is up to his ears in dealing with Russia over the Ukraine conflict and with China over the proactive spread of its military economic and diplomatic wings; he is therefore averse to letting his desk be cluttered with Iran’s nuclear threat.
The ayatollahs in Tehran are fully aware of the US president’s preoccupations and fully exploiting it to get ahead on developing a nuclear arsenal and other advanced weaponry, while also making hay on the diplomatic front.
China was a useful broker to help Iran heal its breach with longtime rival Saudi Arabia. And this week, Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi was in Damascus, the first Iranian president to visit Syria in 12 years. The two agreed to boost bilateral ties between their countries while both remain under heavy Wester sanctions.