Since the Biden administration assumed office, Iran's ruling mullahs have seized the opportunity to continuously advance their nuclear program, which is currently a short step away from manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Iran's mullahs have made significant advances by tripling their nuclear program's capacity to enrich uranium to 60%, a short step away from the 90% purity required to build a nuclear weapon.
Zohar Palti, the former head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's political-military bureau and former intelligence director in the Mossad, recently stated: "They [the Iranian leaders] are days or weeks away from enriching uranium to 90 percent, which is military-grade".
Enriching uranium at 60% is far beyond the 3.7% that is needed for a civilian nuclear energy program. Even France, Germany and the United Kingdom warned in a statement that "This step, which carries significant proliferation-related risks, has no credible civilian justification," and added that the Iranian government's latest actions are "further reducing the time Iran would take to break out toward a first nuclear weapon and... fueling distrust as to Iran's intentions....".
Concerning the danger of enriching uranium at 60%, Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), recently said:
"This is something that has consequences. It gives them an inventory of nuclear material for which it cannot be excluded... that there might be another use. We need to go. We need to verify".
One of the critical issues is that the IAEA has been having a bit of difficulty monitoring Iran's nuclear activities: the ruling mullahs have been restricting the ability of IAEA inspectors to monitor their nuclear sites. The Iranian authorities turned off two of the United Nations surveillance cameras and deactivated the cameras that helped the IAEA monitor Tehran's nuclear activity.
The violations by the Iranian regime come at a critical time: the Iranian regime is reportedly digging an underground nuclear facility in Natanz, in addition to its Fordow nuclear facility, reportedly difficult to bomb but "not impregnable."
"Fordow is already viewed as so deeply buried," David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, pointed out, "that it would be difficult to destroy via aerial attack. The new Natanz site may be even harder to destroy."
The Iranian regime most likely halted its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog so it would not have to provide any explanation for its clandestine and undeclared nuclear sites, previously identified by the IAEA at three locations in Iran.
"We have to sit down urgently if possible to see how we continue with this," Grossi warned. "Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the agency's findings at three undeclared locations in Iran."
The Iranian regime may, in fact, have begun already enriching uranium at the 90% level required for the production of a nuclear bomb. Iran is selling Russia drones and other material; is Russia "paying" for them by helping the mullahs complete their nuclear weapons undertaking?
The Biden administration has most likely been the best gift Iran could ever have hoped for. Just last week, the US Department of State declared Iran the "world's leading sponsor of terrorism." This is the same State Department that had allowed the mullahs to brutally crack down on and kill their own people, deliver drones and other deadly weapons to their ally Russia; freely increase their influence in Latin America, and rapidly advance their nuclear weapons program. What will it take for the Biden administration finally to help the young men and women of Iran who have been fighting so hard for their freedom?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu