The news of Iran uranium enrichment is scary but not unpredictable. The country has been working on a nuclear program for decades now. The key sites are spread across the country, but the most attention is focused on two cities: Natanz and Fordo.
Today, these two spots are the hotspot of Iran’s uranium enrichment programs. In the beginning, Iran attempted to conceal the existence of both sites, escalating fears that it might be covertly developing a nuclear weapon. However, now both sites are the subject of intense scrutiny.
Now, with the reports of more than doubled uranium enrichment in the country, the tensions between the US and Iran are growing. Here’s a complete explainer:
Iran Uranium Enrichment: An Overview
Natanz site was first exposed in 2002 when Iran secretly relocated the Kalaye Electric Company’s research, development, and manufacturing of gas centrifuges to Natanz.
However, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition organization, revealed the location. Hence the operation was not kept a secret for very long.
Fordow, a remote site built deep in a mountain, was exposed in 2009 by Western Intelligence. That made US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announce the site’s existence to the world.
Iran stated that its nuclear facility and program are only used for peaceful purposes and would only enrich uranium to 5% U-235 for military purposes.
Iran, however, subsequently submitted a revised Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) in June 2011. Claiming that it intended to enrich uranium up to 20% U-235, activities were already started in December 2011.
The FFEP(Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant) was fully accessible to IAEA inspectors when Iran agreed to do so. And the inspectors confirmed that the facility complied with Iranian design requirements.
However, the IAEA highlighted increased concern over the prospect of other Iranian nuclear sites that are not currently declared, similar to the FFEP. Moreover, IAEA observed it did not give any proof that Iran diverted nuclear material produced at the FFEP for military reasons.
The 2015 Agreement: Iran Nuclear Deal
In response to these concerns, China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US initially signed the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) in November 2013. The plan states that Iran will halt uranium enrichment above 5% at the FFEP for six months. And as part of the larger accord, Iran agreed to that.
However, the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) was monitored by IAEA, and they verified Iran’s compliance with the JPA’s measures. Later on, the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) was eventually replaced with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a historic agreement signed between Iran and a number of major superpowers, including the United States.
Under its provisions, Iran consented to destroy a significant portion of its nuclear program and permit more thorough international inspections of its facilities in exchange for sanctions relief worth billions of dollars.
To decrease the likelihood of a confrontation escalating between Iran and its regional adversaries, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, the deal’s proponents said that it would contribute to preventing a resurgence of Iran’s nuclear weapons development.
Moreover, with the historic agreement, Iran agreed to stop producing either plutonium or highly enriched uranium that may be used in nuclear weapons. It also took pains to ensure that only civilian endeavors, including medical and industrial research, would be carried out at its Fordow, Natanz, and Arak facilities.
Trump, the Deed Holder
On 8th May 2018, Donald Trump, the then-president of the United States of America, suddenly backed out of this nuclear deal.
Additionally, Donald trump levied the highest level of sanction on Iran, stating that the agreement has a deteriorating and corrupt structure that is not preventing Iran from making a nuclear bomb.
Donald trump alleged that the Iran government supports terrorism and violence & fuels the chaos in the Middle East. However, political experts in the US believe that Trump backed off for one reason: that Obama signed the agreement, and he had to turn up everything that Obama did.
Therefore Trump restarted the enmity with Iran again and declared economic sanctions. However, Trump did not stop there; he constantly accelerated the tension between the two countries.
On 20th June 2019, a US drone was shot down by Iran on the charges of flying under Iranian territory. In one instance, there was a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil tankers; the US alleged it was the deed of Iran.
On 8th April 2019, Donald Trump made a historic decision by declaring the Iranian military branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Moreover, on 3rd January 2020, Americans attacked Iran via drone and killed Iranian General Army Chief Soleiman, stating that the USA got the news that Soleiman was planning an attack on America.
Iran’s Current Nuclear Activities
Iran began going over the predetermined limitations for its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in 2019. Moreover, Iran also started enriching uranium to higher concentrations in reaction to the US sanction.
Additionally, it restarted heavy water production at its plant in Arak, developed new centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment, and started enriching uranium at Fordow, rendering the isotopes created there useless for medical use.
The latest move by the Iran government against the retaliation was the enrichment of uranium by 60% purity at its Fordow nuclear plant and plans.
“Iran had started producing high enriched uranium – UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) enriched up to 60% – using the existing two cascades of IR-6 centrifuges in the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, in addition to such product that has taken place at Natanz since April 2021,”The director general of IAEA stated
Iran Uranium Enrichment: Is Iran really planning to make a nuclear Bomb?
The fact that Iran has started higher uranium enrichment than allowed by the 2015 nuclear agreement is undoubtedly concerning. In addition, a heavy-water nuclear reactor might have produced plutonium, which can potentially be used to construct a nuclear bomb.
The experts and researcher Mohammadbagher Forough believe –
It is true that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Iran is still too far off the course, though. Iran would still need to stockpile more than 90% of its uranium to build a nuclear weapon.
Moreover, making only one nuclear weapon is never sufficient for any nation. The nuclear-power country never relies on only one bomb when aware of the consequences, presuming that the nation has several nuclear weapons. With only one nuclear weapon and without the strong backing of superpower nations, no war could be waged.
There are also many other reasons that Iran is still far from making nuclear bombs. However, despite the increase in Iran’s uranium enrichment, the country lacks the significant elements to make a nuclear weapon.
The IAEA has nevertheless brought up the question of Iran’s nuclear moment. Still, it is unable to conclude if the country is about to develop its nuclear weapons and that World War III is imminent.
Gulf of Oman: The New Battleground Between USA and Iran
On July 5, 2023, a Wednesday morning, two Iranian Navy ships approached US oil tankers in two separate incidents in the Gulf of Oman. One of the Iranian Navy ships fired its weapons at an oil tanker – escalating tensions in the region. The incident is marking another chapter in a string of incidents that have been occurring since 2019.
The Gulf of Oman Incident
According to commander Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet:
“The Iranian navy did make attempts to seize commercial tankers lawfully transiting international waters.”
At 01:00 AM local time, an Iranian Navy ship came near the oil tanker TRF Moss, which was flagged by the Marshall Islands. However, the Iranian Navy ship left the region when the US Navy destroyer USS McFaul arrived in the area.
Further, three hours later, at 4:00 AM, the US Navy received a distress call from the Bahamas-flagged oil tanker Richmond Voyager. According to the US Navy, the Bahamas-flagged oil tanker was more than 20 miles from the coast of Muscat, Oman, when another Iranian Navy ship came approaching the US oil tanker.
The Iranian Navy ship was signaling the oil tanker to stop when the same US Navy destroyer, USS McFaul, headed towards the oil tanker at full speed.
The Iranian Navy fired its weapons before the US Navy destroyer USS McFaul arrived on the scene with a lot of bullets in a short period of time. According to the US Navy, the Iranian Navy fired with both small arms, such as pistols and rifles, and crew-served weapons, such as machine guns and cannons.
The bullets struck the side of the oil tanker near the crew’s living spaces, but no one was injured. However, The US Navy destroyer USS McFaul arrived on the scene, and the Iranian Navy ship left.
The Continual Attacks of Iran in the Gulf of Oman –
Iran has been continuously involved in multiple attacks on oil tankers since 2019 on a major shipping route for oil. According to the US Navy, Iran has either harassed or seized nearly 20 commercial ships that have been flagged by other countries since 2021.
Such attacks on major shipping routes for oil pose a clear threat to the security of shipping in the region and the global economy – according to the US Navy. The recent attack of July 2023 was not the first attempt by Iran; on June 14, 2019, Iran attempted to seize two US oil tankers by blast, which spiked the oil price significantly. However, the explosions raised concerns about a potential military conflict between Iran and the United States.
Earlier this year, Iran took control of two oil tankers in less than a week in the same region of the Strait of Hormuz, near the Gulf of Oman. Hence, knowing the importance and criticality of waterways for the global economy, such seizures prompted the US to send more ships and aircraft to patrol the Strait of Hormuz. The United States is working with individual countries in the region to deter threats to commercial shipping and prevent attacks on commercial ships.
In May 2023, Greece issued a serious notice and warned ship owners to stay away from Iranian waters because there was a risk of being attacked. However, the latest seizure of an oil tanker by Iran is part of a series of attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman that have been happening since 2019.
Why is Iran Constantly Attacking US Oil Tankers?
According to the U.S. Navy, in the past two years, Iran has taken commercial vessels in at least five instances. Additionally, they have recorded more than a dozen instances of Iran bothering commercial vessels during the past two years. And many of the incidents have happened in the Strait of Hormuz or nearby regions, a major shipping route for oil, which accounts for about 20% of all crude oil.
The constant attack of Iran on US oil tankers in waterways is considered retaliation for withdrawing Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers and restoring crippling sanctions by the US during the reign of President Trump.
The Trump administration’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal and impose new sanctions on Iran has led to increased tensions between Iran and the United States.
However, after the decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal, Iran has increased its nuclear activities within the country, which could be used to develop nuclear weapons. However, the United States and other countries in the world have worked together to prevent such practices by Iran.
Nevertheless, Iran has denied such practice and says that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity. Further, Iran is providing Russia with armed drones that can be used in the war against Ukraine. This is further increasing tension among countries and is a serious concern for the international community.
What will Happen Next?
The ongoing tension between Iran and the US serves as a stark reminder of the delicate balance that should be maintained in international waters. Iran’s repeated attack on the US and other countries’ oil tankers and commercial vessels shows the ever-complex geopolitical landscape in the middle-east region.
However, as countries work together to maintain maritime trade security, diplomatic efforts and international cooperation must be at the forefront of resolving these conflicts.
The world is watching closely with the hope of a peaceful resolution – especially in times of current economic and diplomatic uncertainties.
The Saudi-Iran Deal and its Implications
Seven years after their relations were broken, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major oil-producing competitors of the Middle East, have agreed to mend fences by reopening their embassies. The Saudi-Iran Deal is being said to bring the Middle East “Security, Stability” and have global implications. It is unexpected that the accord was signed in China because negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Iran on a future reconciliation had been ongoing for years, primarily in Iraq. After meetings held in Beijing under Chinese mediation, the Saudi-Iran deal was sealed.
According to a joint statement, Iran and Saudi Arabia “agreed to resume diplomatic relations and reopen embassies… within two months” as a result of the negotiations, Iran’s national news agency said.
A video showing Ali Shamkhani, the council’s secretary, chatting with a Saudi official and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, was posted by Nour News, a website affiliated with Iran’s supreme national security council. “After implementing the decision, the foreign ministers of both nations will meet to prepare for exchange of ambassadors,” Iranian state television said.
Why had Saudi and Iran Cut Diplomatic Ties?
Following the killing of a renowned Shia cleric and preacher Nimr al-Nimar, Iranian protestors attacked Saudi diplomatic offices in Iran in 2016, leading to a deepening sectarian rift between Riyadh and Tehran causing Sadi and Iran to cut ties. The Saudi Arabian government’s killing of the renowned Shia preacher had drawn criticism from the Iranian government and Middle Eastern religious authorities, who threatened the country’s royal family with consequences. The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr sparked widespread outrage, according to councils and clerics in Iran, Yemen, and Lebanon, which significantly heightened religious and diplomatic tensions in the area.
In recent years, the rivalry between predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shia Iran, has dominated Middle East affairs and spread to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Why Does the Saudi-Iran Deal Send Shockwaves to Israel?
The announcement of the reconciliation between longtime opponents Saudi Arabia and Iran on March 12, sent shockwaves through the Middle East and struck a symbolic blow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made countering the threat presented by Tehran a top priority in his public diplomacy efforts. He has presented himself as the sole leader capable of shielding Israel from Iran’s nuclear program, which according to him is expanding quickly, as well as from Iranian proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Reports claim that Israeli-linked ships transporting supplies in the Persian Gulf have been targeted by suspected Iranian drone strikes, among other attacks, as a result of Israel and Iran’s ongoing regional shadow war.
Netanyahu’s normalization agreements with four Arab nations, including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, in 2020 remain one of his greatest diplomatic victories. They were part of an overall strategy to oppose and isolate Iran in the area.
Earlier Netanyahu and his allies made hints that a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be close since taking office late last year. Last month, Netanyahu said in an address to American Jewish leaders that a peace deal was “a goal that we are working on in parallel with the goal of stopping Iran.” However, experts claim that such plans have been dashed by the Saudi-Iran agreement that was unveiled on Friday.
Israel is essentially on its own as it spearheads efforts to diplomatically isolate Iran and makes threats of an unprovoked military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities as a result of Saudi Arabia’s choice to cooperate with its regional opponent Iran. Additionally, the UAE and Iran reestablished official ties last year.
Israel and Netanyahu baffled over Saudi-Iran Deal
The Saudi-Iran deal led to not just disappointment but also finger-pointing in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has been baffled over the Saudi Iranian deal and blamed Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett’s previous administration in Israel, as well as U.S. President Biden. When negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Iran got underway a year ago, Netanyahu charged that they failed to take a firm enough stance.
Danny Danon, a Netanyahu ally and former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. who recently predicted a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia in 2023, seemed disconcerted.
“This is not supporting our efforts,” he said when asked about whether the rapprochement hurt chances for the kingdom’s recognition of Israel.
“It’s a blow to Israel’s notion and efforts in recent years to try to form an anti-Iran bloc in the region,” said Yoel Guzansky, an expert on the Persian Gulf at the Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank. “If you see the Middle East as a zero-sum game, which Israel and Iran do, a diplomatic win for Iran is very bad news for Israel.”.
Saudi Iran Deal Causes a Blow to the Abraham Accords
Additionally, Israel is also worried that the Saudi-Iran deal can cause a blow to the Abraham Accords signed on Sept. 15, 2020, which normalized diplomatic relations among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and, potentially, Sudan. Because the Saudi-Iran deal challenges the Abraham Accords’ most fundamental justification, there is currently a sense of discontent across the Israeli political spectrum. Israelis and Americans can make all the claims they want about the Accords being peace treaties, which they are not, or about the economic advantages. The main goals of the Accords, however, were expanded Arab state access to American weapons and coordination, as well as an Israeli-Arab coalition against Iran.
That framework provided Israel with the solution it had been looking for for years, which is the normalization with the Arab world without giving the Palestinians their freedoms and rights. The Saudi-Iran deal causes a blow to the Abraham Accords because it will fail Israel’s attempts to isolate Iran from the middle eastern countries. While the Saudi-Iran Deal has the potential to make shifts in both regional and global politics, it could also mean a lot less than it initially anticipated.
Iran’s embrace of Bashar Assad: An indelible shame
Bashar Assad, the little Hitler of Damascus, is undoubtedly the bloodiest Arab tyrant. The British-educated ophthalmologist is responsible for the utter destruction of the bulk of Syria, the death of around half a million citizens as well as the expulsion of half the population of the Arab country, all in order to remain in power. Bashar is by no means the only criminal Arab dictator whose hands are stained with his people’s blood. In fact, most Arab leaders are actually despicable despots who should have been hanged or consigned behind bars for the rest of their lives. So, what are the reasons behind the Iranian Shiite regime’s dark embrace of Bashar Assad.
It is crystal clear that the so-called Shiite Islamic republic of Iran has been the most important ally of Bashar Assad after Putin’s Russia.
Indeed, from the very inception of the post-Shah regime, the Mullas of Iran viewed Syria as a potential Shiite republic due to the fact that Assad is a member of the heterodox Alawi Nusayri sect, which deifies the fourth Caliph Imam Ali. The only nominally Muslim sect, which has been in control of the Syrian government and army since the late 1960s, makes up around 10-11% of Syria’s total population of 19 million.
Read Also: Let Iran have the bomb!
The sect is notoriously heretic, cultic, esoteric, schismatic and highly secretive. The vast majority of Sunni and Shiite religious scholars consider the Nusayris as “apostate.” According to a famous Fatwa (religious edict) by Ibn Taymiyya in the 14th century, the Alawis are farther from Islam than the Jews and the Christians and even more heretical than many of the polytheists and their harm to Muslims is greater than the harm of the infidel fighters such as the Mongols, the Crusaders, and others.
It is not difficult at all to decipher the real reasons behind Iran’s embrace of Bashar Assad of. Assad offered himself to Iran’s Mullacracy as the main and last defender and protector of Shiism in the predominantly Sunni Arab Middle East.
Of course this is a big lie and the Iranians know it. Religion, after all Is probably the last thing in the world that Assad really cares about. The most logical and rational reason behind Iran’s embrace of Bashar Assad is the Mullahs’ unwavering wish to transform Syria into a predominantly Shiite republic, despite the fact that over 70% of Syria’s population are Sunni Muslims.
Iran accords little or no appreciation for this fundamental fact as it has been carrying out aggressive proselyting activities aimed at converting as many Sunnis as possible into the Shiite faith.
Iran equipped and funded as many as 50 militias, compromising Shiite fanatics from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Yemen to fight alongside the demoralized forces of Assad.
Eventually, the Shiite militias decided to fight independently for two reasons: 1) Most of the soldiers and junior officers of the Assad regime’s troops were Sunnis, not Shiites. The better-equipped Alawi troops were deployed rather permanently in and outside Damascus to thwart any possible coup attempt against the Assad regime. 2- the Syrian troops’ social behaviour didn’t conform with the rigid religious ideology of Shiite militiamen as the former indulged in all vices like alcohol drinking, drug addiction, adulterous and promiscuous behaviour and unreligious behaviour activities.
None the less, it is widely believed that the militiamen were involved in carrying out numerous atrocities of Syrian Sunni civilians. The usually-ignorant militiamen were told by their Iranian superiors upon their arrival in Syria that they were fighting the murderers of Imam Hussein and taking part in the noble task of protecting the “holy grave” of saint Zaynab, sister of Imam Hussein.
The truth of the matter is that Zaynab (may Allah be pleased with her) is highly respected and venerated by Sunni Muslims and that never in history have the People of Syria tried to damage, desecrate or vandalize her grave as Iranian Shiites did to graves of some Sahaba (companions of the Prophet) and Sunni scholars in Persia and recently in Syria. (Iran had been a predominantly a Sunni country before the Safawis’ bloody takeover in the 16-18 century.
The recruitment of Shiite fighters from Afghanistan eventually boomeranged on Shiite communities in Afghanistan itself as Isis terrorists and others targeted Shiite civilians in Kabul, Herat, and other places, killing hundreds of people. Shiite schools, mosques and community centers continue to be targeted in Afghanistan even after the return to power of the Taliban movement
Iran deserves a better leadership
The Iranian regime projects a very poor case when defending their sectarian intervention in Syria. The Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying that as far as the Islamic Republic is concerned, defending Damascus was as important as defending Tehran and that preserving the regime of the Bashar Assad was as paramount as preserving the theocratic Shiite regime in Iran!
This “foolishness”, coming from a man widely considered by his followers as an infallible, divinely-guided imam and deputy to Imam al-Zaman al-Madi (the occulted imam). one can only implore Almighty Allah to free Muslims in Persia and elsewhere from the stranglehold of such mythology and sectarian blindness that is ravaging and corroding the great nation of Iran. Iran simply deserves better leadership.
Khamenaei’s staunch support for Bashar Assad and his regime is not only morally wrong and harmful and destructive to the entire Muslim Umma. It is also absolutely and totally incompatible with the basic tenets of Islam.
In fact, Assad’s evil credentials are known too well to every honest person in the Middle East. You don’t have to have a doctorate degree in political science or International Relations to discover the Satanic character of this thug.
As to Khamenei, he doesn’t have to speak with Imam al Mahdi! to ask him about Bashar! Let him Just ask some honest Shiite scholars in Syria and Lebanon, they would tell him the truth
But if he doesn’t trust these people for one reason or the other, he should try to judge the Yazid of our time according to the scale of Imam Ali, or Imam Hasan, or Imam Hussein or Imam Jaafar Sadeq.
And if Those venerable imams failed to give a satisfactory answer, then judge the contemptible thug according to the scale of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him.
And if you still want to be certain 100% , there is always the Book of Allah, the Glorious Quran, so you can find the ultimate answer, This is much better and safer for you and your hereafter. Haven’t you read the verse- 113 of Surat Hud:
And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allah, nor you would then be helped.Hud:113
Featured2 months ago
Israel is Hiding Crucial Demographic Facts About Palestinians
Featured3 years ago
“Do Not Waste Water Even If You Were at a Running Stream” Prophet Muhammad
Featured11 months ago
Argentina wins the World Cup; are there any other winners?
Featured2 years ago
History of the Ottoman Empire
Featured3 years ago
Friendship is a Way For Jannah
Featured1 year ago
World Leaders Remain Silent Over Human Rights Violations in the UAE
Featured3 years ago
Practical Ways to Fight Depression in Islam
Featured11 months ago
Will the West embrace Kosher Nazism following the instalment of the new Israeli government?