IRAN has stepped up production of material that can be used for nuclear weapons at a site Donald Trump was reportedly talked out of attacking.
Tehran is pumping nuclear fuel into advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges installed underground at Natanz, the UN’s nuclear watchdog has said.
Under the terms of Iran's 2015 deal with world powers – which Trump tore up last year – it is only meant to enrich uranium with a less sophisticated variety of centrifuges.
Enriched uranium is a key material in the manufacture of nuclear weapons and Iran was limited by the international agreement on how much it is allowed to hold.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, recently warned that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium at Natanz has risen to more than 12 times the limit permitted since Trump withdrew from the deal.
It emerged yesterday the President asked whether he had any options to attack Iran after the IAEA’s report but was talked out of by advisers who said it could spark all-out war.
They included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley.
Such an act could quickly escalate into a "broader conflict" the advisers told him, the New York Times reported.
Last month, Trump told Iran they had been "put on notice."
"If you f*** around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before," he said during an interview.
Trump called the international agreement aimed at limiting Iran’s ability to produce nuclear a "horrible, one-sided deal" that failed to address its missile programme and behaviour in the region.
Since then Iran has taken steps to violate limits laid down in the deal, in retaliation for Trump's re-imposition of sanctions.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has threatened to arm itself with nuclear weapons unless Joe Biden succeeds in stopping Iran developing them.
The desert kingdom has strongly backed the hardline stance of Donald Trump towards Iran but its foreign minister said it was waiting to see what the new president’s policy will be.
Riyadh appears wary of Biden's pledge to revive a pact between major powers including the UK and Iran, a landmark deal that was negotiated when he served as vice president under Barack Obama.
Asked if Saudi Arabia could develop nuclear weapons in response, the country’s minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir replied: “It’s definitely an option.”
“Saudi Arabia has made it very clear that it will do everything it can to protect its people and to protect its territories,” al-Jubeir said in an interview with the DPA news agency.
Source: Read Full Article