Iran is stepping up effort to build nuclear bomb warns expert: ‘A matter of grave concern’

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Hooman Mirghasemi, journalist and analyst at Iran International TV said Tehran has ambitions to launch an attack on Israel – although now is not the right time, not just because of the election of President Joe Biden, but also because the parlous state of Iran’s economy had the potential to trigger major domestic civil unrest. Mr Mirghasemi was speaking after a Twitter account associated with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei was permanently banned after sharing a picture depicting defeated former US President Donald Trump playing golf in the shadow of a drone, with an accompanying message warning of imminent revenge.

The post is a reference to the assassination by US drone strike of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last January, and was also likely motivated by the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November, for which Iran blames Israel.

Relations between Iran and the West have been steadily deteriorating ever since Mr Trump’s decision to pull the USA out of the JPOCA deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, citing alleged violations.

Mr Mirghasemi told “Iran is now enriching uranium up to 20 percent.

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“The current climate is a matter of grave concern for the remaining members of the JCPOA, since uranium metal can be used in the core of a nuclear bomb.

“That is the direction Iran is headed to, but we must also take Iran’s ailing economy into consideration.”

Mr Mirghasemi explained: “If nothing is done very soon, Iran is likely to face a much more serious domestic unrest.

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“There are reports about some Iranians who are even forced to rent rooftops or sleep in graveyards.

“One dollar is worth about 22 thousand Iranian Tomans, and the country is gripped by stagflation.”

Additionally, as a result of ongoing sanctions imposed by the US unilaterally US unilateral sanctions, Iran was also struggling to pay off its proxies in the region, said Mr Mirghasemi.

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Such a situation made it more likely that Tehran would agree to comply with the strict requirements of the deal which it signed in 2015.

Mr Mirghasemi said: “It is logical to assume that Iran may wish to return to its JCPOA commitments in return for easing of economic sanctions.”

In relation to Israel, he also referred to concerning reports that Iran had Shahed-136 kamikaze drones in the Houthi controlled areas of Yemen.

Mr Mirghasemi said: “With an operational radius of 1370 miles, Israel is within their range. Chanting Death to Israel, burning Israeli flags, and threatening to wipe Israel from the face of the world are the trademarks of the Iranian regime.

“Ideally the regime of Iran, if undeterred, would attack Israel, but now it does not seem to be the right time.

“Joe Biden is in the White House, and he is suspending sanctions on Yemen’s Houthis.

“On the other hand, Biden and his administration, as members of the team that created the JCPOA, want to revive the nuclear deal.”

Such an eventuality would enable Iran to benefit from billions of dollars of oil revenues of which it had been deprived since Mr Trump left the JCPOA and imposed sanctions – cash it needed to fund its Middle Eastern proxies and avoid the kind of economically motivated domestic unrest witnessed in 2019.

Mr Mirghasemi added: “Let’s assume that Iran, at this point in time, attacks Israel. That equals more sanctions and the looming possibility of direct confrontation in Iran’s soil.

“I do not think Iran is prepared for such a drastic move at the present time.”

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