According to Axios and Israeli military and intelligence sources, the Israelis were worried about the U.S. allowing Iran to have a “fielded nuclear weapon” after Gen. Mark Milley warned last week that the U.S. would not allow such a thing to happen.
Especially concerning to the officials was the word “fielded,” which they interpreted to mean that the United States had changed its stance towards Iran and would now allow Tehran to construct a nuclear weapons program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported at the end of February that Iran has 87.5 kilos of 60%-enriched uranium.
The Israelis also disputed Milley’s prediction of how long it would take Iran to produce a nuclear weapon. Authorities in Israel objected and questioned the veracity of Milley’s assertions, asking the Biden administration for clarification.
The Biden White House, together with its allies in the European Union and the State of Israel, recently considered a strategy that would show how worried the United States is about advancements in Iran’s nuclear program. If Iran freezes some components of its nuclear program under the terms of this deal, sanctions might be lifted.
Iran’s stockpile of uranium was capped at 300 kilograms (661 pounds) and its enrichment was limited to 3.67% under the terms of the nuclear accord it signed in 2015. The battle over Iran’s nuclear program has grown since the United States withdrew from the accord unilaterally in 2018. Iran has launched a series of attacks.
Nonproliferation experts have previously said that Iran has no civilian use for uranium enriched to a level of 60 percent purity, which is the level at which Iran has been enriching uranium.
IAEA data released on February 12 indicated that Iran’s uranium stockpile had grown to 3,760 kilograms (8,289 pounds), up 87.1 kilograms (192 pounds) from the country’s last quarterly report in November. Around 60% of the amount, or 87.5 kilograms (192 pounds), has been refined to a higher purity level.
As uranium at about 84% is almost near the weapons-grade threshold of 90%, Iran could simply use any stockpile to produce an atomic bomb if it so desired.