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Iran reportedly days away from nuclear capability as it plans reprisal on Israel

US and Israeli governments warn of imminent attack

Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during a meeting between Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and nuclear scientists and personnel of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in Tehran, Iran June 11, 2023. (Photo: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA via REUTERS)

As Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly mulls plans for a retaliatory attack on Israel, a Washington Post report claims the regime is possibly days away from having sufficient material for a nuclear weapon. 

A report from The Washington Post, drawing on the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) latest inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities in February, points to "indications of alarming change."

Specifically, the inspectors witnessed a frenzy of new and renewed activity at Iran’s main nuclear development site, with increasing levels of enriched uranium. 

The most concerning discovery made by inspectors is that Iran has increased its production of highly enriched uranium. Although this uranium is not yet of weapons-grade quality, it is significantly purer than the levels needed for civilian energy uses. This highly enriched uranium could be refined to weapons-grade material within just a few days.

The Iranian regime has been steadily increasing its refinement capabilities since the United States pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal, which was initiated under former U.S. President Barack Obama and the European Union. 

The JCPOA was widely criticized for not being strict enough in limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, however, since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal, and at the start of Joe Biden's presidency, Iran has been steadily improving its nuclear production capabilities. 

Iran appears to be emboldened by its increasing alliance with Russia, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In a recent discussion between Washington Post reporter Jody Warrick and WTOP radio's National Security Correspondent JJ Green, the two estimated that Iran has enough fissile material to produce at least three nuclear weapons. 

Doing so would require an additional purification step and the construction of specialized detonation devices, however, those steps are not considered to be a significant challenge for Iran, which has already demonstrated its ability to evade or work around U.S. and Western sanctions meant to hamper weapons development. 

With Iranian leaders deliberating over the appropriate response to Israel's alleged airstrike in Syria, resulting in the assassination of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps senior leader, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the nation’s nuclear weapons ambition is once again in the spotlight. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly pledged not to allow Iran to successfully develop nuclear weapons with which to threaten the Jewish state. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Iranian response to Zahedi’s killing could come within the next 24-48 hours. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Israel issued a travel restriction for American government employees, warning them not to travel outside of central Israel until further notice. 

Israeli officials have also announced preparations for an imminent attack by Iran.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said Israel is “on alert and highly prepared for various scenarios."

“We are ready for attack and defense using a variety of capabilities that the IDF has, and also ready with our strategic partners,” Hagari said.

Analysts believe that Iran could try to target Israel’s less populated Golan Heights, as an attack on a more heavily populated area could trigger an escalation involving direct conflict between the two nations.  

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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