Iran is currently awaiting a large shipment containing 130 tons of natural uranium from Moscow, Russia, which diplomatic sources told the Associated Press was to “compensate it [Iran] for exporting tons of [nuclear] reactor coolant.” The diplomats also went so far as to say that the transaction was, “approved by all major world powers, including the United States.”
The authorization from the Obama administration, as well as other major world powers belonging to the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, known as the “Permanent Five”, comes as what seems to be a final bid to ensure Iran’s future compliance with the nuclear pact signed in 2015. Under this pact, Iran agreed to follow specific guidelines for the enrichment, reprocessing, and monitoring of nuclear materials and programs. The deal would also see Iran reduce its uranium stockpile by 98% over 15 years, leaving them with a total sum of 660 pounds. While the move still awaits final approval by the United Nations Security Council as a whole, this is seen as merely a formality, as the countries which hold the power to veto the vote have already pledged their support.
Iranian officials continue to insist that they are not interested in enriching uranium to create nuclear weapons, but merely to create more peaceful, nuclear energy for the country. Others, though, are not so convinced.
David Albright, the founder of the non-governmental Institute for Science and International Security, said that “the shipment could enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”
Senior U.S. Diplomats continue to state that “any natural uranium transferred to Iran after the deal came into effect would be under strict surveillance by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency for 25 years after implementation of the deal.”
Despite their spoken intentions, on Monday Iranian lawmakers approved to increase military spending to five percent of its entire budget, part of which will be used for continuing development of its long range missile program.
The nuclear pact has come under heavy scrutiny by President-elect Donald Trump, who concluded that he believed the deal to be “disastrous,” even going so far as to remark that it was “the worst deal ever negotiated.” The President-elect’s rhetoric has left many to believe that the deal will likely be reversed or heavily altered once he takes office.