Iran regime close to getting nuclear bomb, but what’s the holdup?

JERUSALEM — Iran has moved dangerously close to enriching weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb, but the regime has not but crossed the essential threshold of declaring it has constructed an atomic weapon. 

Fox News Digital reached out to specialists on Iran’s greater than two-decade effort to be a part of the small group of nations which have atomic weapons for explanations about what’s stopping Tehran from crossing the nuclear threshold. 

“If there is reason to believe that there are a number of retardants that have put a pause in their weapons development, they’d relate back to targeted attacks by the U.S. and Israel, who clearly are very much concerned about stopping the mullahs,” said Lisa Daftari, an Iran knowledgeable and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk.

Daftari added, “Israel has reportedly conducted at least two dozen targeted operations on Iran’s regime in the last 15 or so years, including drone attacks, cyberattacks, if you recall Stuxnet and assassinations of key players in Iran’s nuclear program.”


The flag of Iran waves in entrance of the International Center constructing at the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2021.  (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter, FILE)

“We cannot underestimate the power of international pressure on Iran’s regime,” Daftari advised Fox News Digital. 

“That pressure has been assuaged under this current administration, who, while stepping away from the nuclear deal, are still hoping to revive some form of normalization agreement with Tehran. Otherwise, when there is consistent and targeted pressure on Iran’s regime in the form of enforced sanctions and economic and political isolation, we see a weakened regime and an emboldened Iranian people who are brave enough to take to the streets,” she stated.

Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran’s regime, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, boasted final 12 months that “Iran is on the nuclear threshold, and this is not something secret,” in accordance to a 2022 report in the state-controlled Tehran Times.

Just this 12 months, the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed Iran’s regime enriched 84% purity of uranium, 6% shy of the 90% enriched uranium required for a nuclear weapon.

Iran military parade

An Iranian army truck carries surface-to-air missiles previous a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei throughout a parade on the nation’s annual military day April 18, 2018, in Tehran.  (Atta Kenare/AFP by way of Getty Images)

Iran’s regime is testing the resolve of the United States and different world powers who’ve repeatedly said they won’t allow Iran to construct a nuclear weapon. Israel views Tehran’s atomic weapon program as an existential menace as a result of Tehran has often declared it seeks to obliterate it.

“It’s an open question as to whether Khamenei wants to die as the father of the Shiite atomic bomb or as the one who kept the Islamic Republic on the nuclear path without provoking a war or pulling the trigger,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, senior fellow and Iran knowledgeable at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, advised Fox News Digital.

“Currently, however, Khamenei’s perception of diplomatic and security policy success abroad and ascendency at all costs at home may be sufficient to push him over the edge as he continues to age,” added Taleblu, who just lately authored a complete evaluation of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities and intentions.

Fox News Digital reported this week that Iran is burrowing deep into tunnels close to a peak of the Zagros Mountains in central Iran to defend a nuclear facility from standard weapon assaults. 

Iranian centrifuge machines.

This file photograph launched Nov. 5, 2019, by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, exhibits centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran by way of AP, File)

Aside from the technological impediments for the building of a contemporary nuclear weapon, Iran’s regime has been confronted with deterrence from Israel and the United States over the years, together with Stuxnet computer worm sabotage of the regime’s nuclear gas manufacturing system.

“I think Iran’s leadership to date has calculated the costs of doing so would outweigh the benefits at this juncture — mainly a destructive attack which targets its entire nuclear infrastructure,” Jason Brodsky, coverage director of the U.S.-based United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), advised Fox News Digital. 


Jake Sullivan

National safety adviser Jake Sullivan speaks throughout a press briefing at the White House March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“But my concern is that calculus risks changing as the U.S. and Europe’s non-response to Iran’s nuclear escalation over the last two years — for example 60% enrichment and production of uranium metal — has emboldened Tehran’s leadership to continue testing international red lines.”

Brodsky added that “If that perception is not altered, Iran is likely to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels at 90%. Tehran’s risk-aversion to date shows that it can be deterred. But that can quickly change if the Islamic Republic receives no pushback as it advances its nuclear program.”

Earlier this month U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the Biden administration had “Made it clear to Iran that it can never be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon. As President Biden has repeatedly reaffirmed, he will take the actions that are necessary to stand by this statement, including recognizing Israel’s freedom of actions.”

“We’ve restored unity of purpose between the United States and Europe and much of the world against Iranian provocations, nuclear activities,” he stated whereas additionally noting that the U.S. is exerting strain on “Iran through sanctions.”


Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri and IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh stand collectively throughout the unveiling of a Kheibar Sheka missile at an undisclosed location in Iran Feb. 9, 2022. (West Asia News Agency/Handout by way of REUTERS )

“Iran has not crossed the threshold into building a nuclear weapon because the supreme leader has not decided to weaponize the program,” Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state who served in the Obama administration, advised Fox News Digital.

“This position has been confirmed by multiple U.S. intelligence community assessments over the past several years.” He continued that “While only the supreme leader can truly say why he has taken this position, it’s known that continued diplomatic isolation by the international community that followed the expansion of its nuclear program is causing pain for the Iranian regime.”


Rubin stated it was clear that Tehran was “Still open to pursuing a diplomatic path as it knows that if it crosses into weapons-grade nuclear arsenals, which it is capable of doing, the nation would be further isolated internationally — even by its allies. It would trigger a regional nuclear arms race, and Tehran would never get out from under the sanctions pressure it currently is experiencing,” he stated.

“What is clear from recent years is that a firm, verifiable diplomatic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is the best way to ensure that it never obtains a nuclear weapon. Military threats alone will not get us there,” Rubin concluded.

Several ships

U.S. Central Command and the IDF are collaborating in a joint army train often known as “Exercise Juniper Oak” happening in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.  (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)

Low-intensity army deterrence towards Iran’s regime has been taking part in out for quite a few years, in accordance to Israeli media retailers. 

“We have the ability to hit Iran,” Israel’s protection chief warned this week.

The United States army and Israel Defense Forces launched a joint drill, Juniper Falcon, in February. The IDF’s web site said “The exercise tested collective U.S.-Israel readiness and strengthened the interoperability between the two militaries,” the IDF said on its web site after the drill.

Yet there are rising considerations the Biden administration isn’t inflicting sufficient strain on Iran’s regime to change its conduct. Over 100 former world leaders urged Biden this week to get tough on Iran.

Earlier this week Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reportedly stated throughout a go to to Hatzor Air Force Base that Israel is getting ready for a “complex, difficult and more significant objective.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, factors to a pink line he drew on a graphic of a bomb whereas addressing the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 27, 2012, in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)


Military deterrence has been the single biggest think about slowing Iran’s illicit nuclear program. U.S. saber-rattling has influenced a change in the Islamic Republic’s conduct. 

In 2007, a declassified U.S. National Intelligence Estimate decided with “high confidence” that Iran’s regime stopped it nuclear weapons program in 2003. Iran experts consider the Islamic Republic briefly pulled the plug on its unlawful atomic program due to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and fears the U.S. would launch a army incursion into Iran.

The sheer survival of Iran’s regime pressured the then supreme chief Khomeini to agree to a cease-fire with Iraq in 1988 after eight years of battle. At the time he in contrast the truce to ingesting from “a chalice of poison.” 


American strain prompted Khomeini to launch U.S. hostages in 1981 throughout the diplomatic disaster. All of those examples recommend Iran’s regime is enormously susceptible to army strain and different types of leverage that threaten its legitimacy and existence. 

“Iran’s regime is quite calculating,” Daftari stated. “As rogue as they have been in capturing oil tankers in the seas, continuing the support of regional terror and, of course, the brutal wholesale executions of innocent protesters, they continue to weigh out the consequences of a heated military confrontation with Israel or the United States.”

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