250 Kilograms of 20% Enriched Uranium for…RESEARCH?

With the publication of the latest IAEA report one fact has been made painfully clear- Iran had stockpiled enough Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) in order to assemble one nuclear bomb. In fact, the November IAEA report points towards a large increase in centrifuges and in 20% HEU production since the underground nuclear plant at Fordow became operational. 

Ice-Bomb 20% HEU can be used for two purposes: further enrichment to Atomic bomb pay-load material (90% EU) or…research. Since Iran repeatedly denies any military aspect to its nuclear program (it is, they say, a “sin”), Tehran’s explanation for this stockpile is quite simply “research”. And yet, when asked as to the nature of this research, Tehran has been evasive and up until now, no details were shared. Tehran’s refusal to be transparent on the 20% HEU, has led it to be isolated and sanctioned as well as threatened to be attacked. More reports, more summits, more threats, more tensions, more sanctions and still, Iran keeps on stockpiling 20% HEU for “research” purposes. One thing is certain: this research, if it does exist, must be terribly important to be worth the pressure Tehran is going through to keep on stockpiling. Indeed, what type of research is so important that a country is willing to sustain such economic sanctions in order to undertake? Let’s assume that Iran is actually carrying out research with 20% HEU. If the research is in the field of peaceful use of nuclear material, why not share this research with other nuclear countries? And If the research is humanitarian (eg: a cure for cancer), why not collaborate with other nuclear capable countries who already have much experience in nuclear research? What kind of peaceful research is important enough to stand up against the UN and yet so secretive that it cannot be shared? What makes this research so special that Iran is willing to go to war for? There are many reasons to believe that Iran’s nuclear program is in fact military-aligned. These reasons can be found in the latest IAEA report: multiple nuclear sites, a nuclear clean-up at the Parchin military site and centrifuges and 20% EU stockpiles in excess of the needed amounts for a peaceful program. The stockpiling of the 20% HEU is the most dangerous of all and the most bewildering if we are to accept Tehran’s explanations of “research”. If Tehran were to share some proof that “research” is the sole purpose of 20% HEU enrichment, then the world will surely lift the sanctions. Why put the Iranian economy, and by proxy the Iranian citizens through such sanctions if Iran seeks nuclear capabilities solely for research purposes? Really, it is that simple.

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