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Nuke speculation intensifies as Iran set for Prez polls

With Iran on the brink of electing its new president, its nuclear intentions have been the subject of keen scrutiny, controversies, and much speculation.

News Arena Network - Tehran - UPDATED: July 4, 2024, 06:25 AM - 4 mins read

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Nuke speculation intensifies as Iran set for Prez polls

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While the world stays focused on ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine, a lot has been developing in Iran, a political storm to put it mildly, and a shift in nuclear policy, even.

 

With the nation on the brink of electing its new president, its nuclear intentions have been the subject of keen scrutiny, controversies, and much speculation.

 

For decades, Tehran has insisted that its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes. 

 

However, Iran’s latest missile exchanges with Israel have led many nations to question that claim.

 

Last month, Iran once again hit world headlines when it reportedly moved closer than ever to having the ability to produce several nuclear weapons.

 

IAEA on Iran’s nuclear intentions:

 

According to reports by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), the country is set to triple, even quadruple its uranium enrichment capacity at Iran’s nuclear facility in Fordow.

 

Furthermore, the reports said that the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) confirmed that Iran was continuing with efforts to enrich uranium, add to its stockpile, upgrade facilities, and build a heavy water reactor.

 

This is not the first time that the UN nuclear watchdog has openly brought attention to Iran's nuclear motives. Last September, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi condemned Iran for obstructing the inspection of Tehran’s atomic activities, calling the move to bar the inspectors assigned to inspect the country disproportionate and unprecedented.

 

Iran threatens consequences:

 

Many interpret Iran’s nuclear efforts and recent statements in conjunction. Earlier last week, Iran’s mission to the United Nations threatened that if "Israel embarks on full-scale military aggression in Lebanon against Hezbollah, an obliteration war will ensue."

 

The verbal aggression came after the Israel Defence Force attacked several Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah’s positions amid escalating tensions on the Lebanese border.

 

Although a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has been found in non-compliance with the NPT safeguards. In 2020, the Islamic Republic also threatened to quit the key global treaty if European powers brought its nuclear deal breaches to the UN.

 

Israel warns about Iran:

 

Recently, UN inspectors also alleged that Iran "sanitised the Parchin military site," making it difficult to conduct any investigation of its nuclear program.

 

Israel, understandably, has many reasons to lose sleep over all the reported developments concerning Iran. Last week, PM Benjamin Netanyahu warned visiting former US generals that "Iran hopes to topple Middle Eastern regimes such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the first step to achieve that is to defeat Hamas." 

 

During a meeting at Tel Aviv’s Defense Ministry headquarters, Netanyahu told the delegation sent by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America that Iran’s goal was to have a combined ground offensive from various fronts, including missile bombardment. "The first requirement is to cut that hand, Hamas," he had said.

 

Political developments back in Iran:

 

On July 5, the Islamic Republic goes to vote for what is believed to be a tight race between lawmaker Massoud Pezeshkian and Saeed Jalili.

 

Before this, the country registered among its lowest turnout for the June 28 ballot for a successor to Ebrahim Raisi following his death in a helicopter crash.

 

Critics of the government viewed the low turnout as a vote of no confidence in Iran’s incumbent regime. 

 

How much change will the new president usher in Iran? No major policy shifts are expected, considering the all-powerful stature of its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is widely known to make all major decisions and call the shots concerning home, defense, and geopolitics, including its disputed nuclear program.

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