Iran has today made a massive statement of power - one that cannot be ignored by any world power. No doubt in response to the United States recent activities near their homeland, Iran's own Fars newsagency has reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency had measured their nuclear stockpile today, and they have found Iran's enriched uranium to exceed the 300kg (660lbs) limit set out in the 2015 nuclear deal made by the Obama administration.
Although the United States, headed by Donald Trump's administration, have indicated their disapproval of the 2015 nuclear deal - European powers have insisted that breaching the deal will have serious consequences. Despite Trump withdrawing the United States from the deal, the superpower's military will no doubt play the situation as an act of malicious defiance, and further escalation of the situation from the US seems inevitable.
From Iran's point of view, they are a regional superpower in their own right, and they are confident of their ability to keep the USA out of their land. An actual military invasion would be very, very, very expensive - going into the trillions of dollars. Today's news is a statement of hardness from the Iranians, and they are letting the world know that they will not roll over at America's geopolitical pressure. Indeed, this is also a statement that the USA does not have power over Iran... Trump originally withdrew from the nuclear deal in order to prevent exactly this happening.
“The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.”
“In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime... “As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat... “This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East... “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.”Donald Trump 2015
When you call a man your enemy, you can be assured that he will start to see himself as your enemy. Looking at Trump's harsh words over the years, and with the increasingly regular incidents occurring in the region, it is no wonder that Iran has recently stepped up its rate of nuclear production by a factor of four since May.
And to add further motivation, Trump's recent visit to North Korea is signalling something very strongly to Iran. If you have nuclear weapons, you will be respected on the world stage, and your borders will be secure. Play with conventional warfare, and you risk ending up like Libya or Iraq. Kind words and diplomacy are nice, but nothing says safety like an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Iran's enriched uranium stockpile is around 3% pure uranium, which is a suitable potentancy for use in a nuclear power plant - weapon's grade uranium needs to be above 90%.
Around 1,000kg of power-plant-grade uranium is required in order to then enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb. As such. breaching the 300kg mark does not indicate an immediate danger.
Iran is still denying any plan of creating a nuclear weapon, but if they were doing so in the background, they almost certainly wouldn't reveal their stance until they had a product in hand. Although the stockpile measured today does not come near the 1 tonne danger zone - we do not actually know their true stockpile. Today's measurements, where Iran openly allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to measure the breach, and where Iran then published the news themselves - this is a clear message to the world - and it has very little to do with their actual progress or intent to build nuclear weapons.
In truth, this situation is extremely complex, and one where we cannot know all the details. Is Iran's nuclear deal actually for civilian purposes? What about nuclear 'dirty' bombs (Iran definitely has the capability to sponsor such an attack)? Were the recent attacks on oil tankers ordered by Iran, or were they false flag operations? How does the United States' alliance with Saudia Arabia come into this? What are the personal motivations of the men in power on all sides of the situation? Who stands to gain financially from different outcomes? Did Trump cause this situation, or does this recent development prove Trump's earlier analysis to be correct? What other important questions are we not asking ourselves?