Iran has now reportedly nearly quadrupled production of uranium suitable for weapons, a development that is expected to escalate tensions with the West as Tehran provides support to allied militias in their efforts to launch attacks against U.S. and Israeli forces in the region.
The nuclear agency Iran has increased its output of near-weapons-grade uranium by threefold signifies the failure of discreet diplomatic endeavors between the United States and Tehran to defuse tensions.
This occurs amidst an increasing number of flashpoints between the United States and Iran, whereby Iranian proxies have engaged in frequent exchanges of gunfire with American forces in the Middle East ever since the violent Israeli-Hamas conflict broke out on October 7.
Additionally, European and American navies are destroying Houthi drones that have been launched into the Red Sea by Iran’s allies.
A chemical tanker was attacked by an Iranian-launched drone in the Indian Ocean on Saturday, according to the Pentagon. This incident further escalates the threat to shipping in the Red Sea, where Yemeni rebels have begun attacking vessels.
Director-General Rafael Grossi informed member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency that agency inspectors confirmed an increase in highly enriched uranium production at both of Iran’s primary nuclear facilities on December 19 and December 24, which the agency claimed Tehran had begun on November 22.
The augmentation restored Iran’s monthly output of nine kilograms of 60% enriched uranium to its level observed at the beginning of this year, prior to Tehran’s suspension of activities on the most perilous component of its nuclear program.
At this time, Iran is the only non-nasional state in the world that is engaged in the production of 60% enriched uranium, a substance that can be transformed into material suitable for nuclear weapons within days. U.S. officials have estimated that Iran could produce sixty percent of the material necessary to construct a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks.
According to experts, Iran’s current stockpile of highly enriched uranium is adequate to power three warheads.
The production of weapons-grade material by Iran, according to U.S. and European officials, could precipitate a crisis that escalates economic and diplomatic pressure on Tehran significantly.
Israel has threatened military retaliation against Iran should Tehran commence production of uranium enriched to 90%.
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