This week, US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl announced, in a statement confirmed by the United Nations, that Iran has enriched uranium to nearly weapons-grade level at an underground nuclear site, and could produce "nuclear material for a bomb in about 12 days."
Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns tried to reassure the House of Representatives: "We don't see evidence that they've made a decision to resume that weaponization program."
This may very well be a prelude to the Iranian regime's asking the US, "How much will you pay us not to go nuclear on the Biden Administration's watch?'
Since the Biden Administration took office, the Iranian regime seems to have enjoyed having a green light to freely advance its nuclear program, enrich uranium to any higher level it desires, spin as many centrifuges as it likes, and march towards becoming a nuclear-armed state -- without any negative consequences.
Iran's ruling mullahs have been gradually advancing their reach for nuclear capability. They first began increasing uranium enrichment to 20%. Iran's parliament then blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear inspectors from accessing Iranian nuclear sites. A recent report by the Institute for Science and International Security detailed:
"Since June 2022, the IAEA has had no ability to monitor Iran's centrifuge manufacturing or assembly rate, old or new centrifuge stocks, stocks of critical parts and material, or potential diversion of such stocks or manufacturing capabilities to unknown sites. The IAEA has reiterated its concerns about the completeness of the information it has from Iran and its ability to accurately verify Iran's declared centrifuges. With Iran accelerating its advanced centrifuge deployments, uncertainties will likely grow in the estimated number of advanced centrifuges produced in excess of those deployed, adding concern to the possibility that Iran will again seek to build a clandestine enrichment plant, using advanced centrifuges manufactured in secret."
"Iran's decision to remove all of the agency's equipment previously installed in Iran for surveillance and monitoring activities in relation to the JCPOA has also had detrimental implications for the agency's ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."
Soon after, as reported last month, Iran raised its uranium enrichment level to 60%, edging closer to weapons-grade levels. Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, Speaker of Iran's parliament, boasted about Iran's ongoing nuclear activities:
"The young and God-believing Iranian scientists managed to achieve a 60 percent enriched uranium product. I congratulate the brave nation on this success."
"Today, Iran informed the Agency that UO2 (uranium oxide) enriched up to 20% U–235 would be shipped to the R&D laboratory at the Fuel Fabrication Plant in Esfahan, where it would be converted to UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) and then to uranium metal enriched to 20% U–235, before using it to manufacture the fuel."
The United Kingdom, France and Germany acknowledged in a joint statement that:
"Iran has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."
Last month, the IAEA revealed that in Iran, it found uranium enriched to 84% -- close to the 90% level needed for weaponization.
Enriching uranium to that level is a critical development: the regime is now finally at the threshold of making all the nuclear weapons it wants, with the missiles to deliver them. The Iranian authorities continue to claim that their nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes only. If that is true, why is the regime refusing to cooperate with the IAEA?
Some Iranian leaders have openly acknowledged that the regime's nuclear program was always designed to manufacture atomic weapons. Former deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Motahari disclosed:
"From the very beginning, when we entered the nuclear activity, our goal was to build a bomb and strengthen the deterrent forces but we could not maintain the secrecy of this issue."
The former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, also admitted that his work was part of a "system" designed to develop nuclear weapons
"When the country's all-encompassing growth began involving satellites, missiles and nuclear weapons, and surmounted new boundaries of knowledge, the issue became more serious for them."
Thanks to the Biden Administration's weak leadership, Iran has been able to make these major nuclear advancements. Unless the Biden Administration quickly emerges from its confusion, Americans may well have the questionable honor of Russia, China, and Iran all aiming nuclear weapons at them at once.
The Biden Administration's domestic policies have been alarming enough: runaway inflation, allowing the Chinese Communist Party the run of the US corral, (here, here, here, here, here and here), 100,000 hard-drug overdose deaths each year thanks to Biden's open border and the effective destruction of both energy independence and mineral extraction. Instead, the Biden Administration has preferred to go hat-in-hand begging to buy oil from "less than friendly countries," such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela -- while ignoring Canada -- and minerals from the Chinese Communist Party.
The Biden Administration's foreign policies, however, are arguably even worse: the surrender to terrorists in Afghanistan; the failure to deter Russia from invading Ukraine; helping Ukraine only "too little too late;" what appears a looming failure to deter China from overwhelming both Taiwan and the United States – and, as a crowning triumph, conferring upon the world a brutal, expansionist, nuclear-armed Iran.
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