Close this search box.

US Warns Iran of Severe Response as Enrichment Nears Weapons Grade

During renewed nuclear deal talks with Iran via Oman, the Biden administration has reportedly issued a stern warning against the ayatollah-led regime attempting to enrich uranium to 90% – enough to build a nuclear weapon.

According to three sources who spoke to Axios, US officials have delivered a clear message to Iran, stating that there will be serious consequences if Tehran reaches the 90 percent uranium enrichment level required for the development of a nuclear weapon. This warning comes as Iran’s uranium enrichment reaches a critical stage, with the UN’s nuclear watchdog estimating that the country currently possesses 114.1 kilograms (251 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60% purity, just a short technical step away from weapons-grade.

The discussions, referred to as “proximity talks,” have reportedly focused on deterrence and were revealed in a report by Axios. Brett McGurk, the White House’s Middle East coordinator, reportedly traveled to Oman on May 8 to discuss potential actions by the US regarding Iran’s contentious nuclear program. Although Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kan, was also in Oman at the same time as part of a delegation, there were no direct meetings between the American and Iranian officials. Instead, Omani officials acted as intermediaries, shuttling between the two teams.

In response to Axios’ request for comment, a spokesperson from the White House National Security Council stated that the US remains focused on constraining Iran’s destabilizing behavior through pressure, close coordination with allies, and de-escalation in the region. The spokesperson emphasized the US’s commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon and expressed readiness to take action in coordination with partners and allies if necessary.

No comments have been provided by the Omani or Iranian foreign ministries regarding these discussions. However, last week, the Financial Times reported that Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran, held several meetings with Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani. These meetings were believed to be the first direct interactions between American and Iranian officials since the US withdrew from the nuclear deal under the Trump administration.

The Financial Times described this outreach as part of a broader shift among US and European officials, who are increasingly concerned that Iran’s continuous violations of the nuclear deal could escalate into a regional conflict.

These reported discussions come approximately nine months after indirect talks aimed at revitalizing the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers collapsed, with the US indicating that the negotiations were no longer a top priority. Recently, there have been signs of increased diplomatic activity centered around Oman, which played a crucial role in initiating the talks that led to the 2015 agreement, from which the US withdrew in 2018.

Last month, Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of Oman visited Tehran for a two-day trip, marking the first visit by an Omani leader to the Iranian capital in a decade. This visit coincided with Iran’s efforts to reconcile with regional rivals, such as Saudi Arabia, and express support for establishing full diplomatic relations with Egypt for the first time since 1979.

Israeli officials have accused the US and Iran of seeking an interim nuclear agreement that would permit Tehran to continue its uranium enrichment activities. However, the White House denied a report on Thursday suggesting progress in a new nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran. Israel has been closely monitoring these developments with increasing concern.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an extensive conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, during which he reiterated his position that Iran will not halt its nuclear program even if it agrees to revive the nuclear deal with the US. Netanyahu’s office stated that he expressed his belief that diplomatic efforts alone would not prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and emphasized the need for a credible military threat.

In a separate show of force toward Iran, Israeli F-16D fighter jets escorted two American B-1 bombers as they transited through Israeli airspace from the Persian Gulf. Over the past two years, Israeli jets have frequently escorted American bombers in the Middle East, as tensions between Tehran and the West have escalated amid stalled negotiations to reach a new deal that would prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief. Israel strongly opposed the 2015 nuclear deal and has also voiced its objections to Europe and the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the agreement, arguing that diplomatic initiatives fall short in preventing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Israel is concerned that a new deal could legitimize Iran’s nuclear activities and erode international support for potential military action.

Last week, the UN’s atomic watchdog closed an investigation into a suspected Iranian site where secret nuclear activity was believed to have taken place. In response, Israel accused the monitor of yielding to pressure from Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that Iran had addressed concerns regarding suspected secret nuclear activity at the Marivan site and the underground Fordo facility.

Iran had contended that the uranium traces found could have originated from “laboratory instruments and equipment” used by miners at the site. The IAEA accepted this explanation as a “possible” one.

Experts had previously linked the Marivan site to Iran’s clandestine military nuclear program and accused the country of conducting high-explosive tests there in the early 2000s. In 2019, Netanyahu exposed the facility, claiming it to be a secret nuclear site.

Furthermore, the IAEA closed a separate investigation into uranium particles enriched to 83.7% found at Iran’s underground Fordo facility, stating that Tehran’s explanation attributing the fluctuations to an enrichment byproduct was acceptable. Last year, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi had emphasized that the closure of IAEA investigations into nuclear particles found at suspected sites was a prerequisite for reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

In another concerning development, a second IAEA report revealed that Iran has significantly increased its stockpile of enriched uranium in recent months to more than 23 times the limit set out in the 2015 accord. The nuclear deal limited Iran’s uranium stockpile to 300 kilograms (661 pounds) and restricted enrichment to 3.67%, a level suitable for powering nuclear reactors. However, Iran has been producing uranium enriched to 60% purity, a level that experts argue has no civilian use.

As of May 13, the IAEA estimated that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile stood at 4,744.5 kilograms (10,460 pounds), with 114.1 kilograms (251 pounds) enriched to 60% purity.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

3 Responses

  1. US has Zero Credibility
    Just last week they were begging NATO and Saudi Arabia to increase output (while this jackass) gives away oil reserves to China and begs Iran for a deal while Clinton sold uranium reserves to a clandestine East European companies.

  2. That wimp, Slow Joe won’t do a thing except kiss them on their toes.
    He is enjoying the threats to Israel because he is a pure anti-semite.
    New need either the Donald or Bibi in the White House.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts