Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment as Tensions With U.S. Continue to Escalate

Your foot is on the gas pedal. You realize you’re going too fast. What do you do? You take if off and apply the brakes.

But if you place a brick on the gas pedal, there’s no stopping it. That’s the analogy used by a sanctions expert for the U.S. State Department team. He was referring to Iran’s recent increase in uranium enrichment.

“They were already going 55 miles per hour and heading towards a busted bridge,” Richard Nephew said.

“And so what the AEOI is saying is that they threw a brick on the accelerator.” The AEOI is the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Nuclear Deal in Danger

Iran is not bothering to hide what it’s doing. In fact, they’ve announced to the world that they are ramping up uranium output.

The move goes against the 2015 nuclear agreement. It was signed by Iran, Russia, China, the European Union and others.

Iran’s game-changing response is to a recent announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump. He said he will tighten sanctions against Iran.

And he has designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group.

Game of Chicken Can’t Go On

Iran has not merely increased its uranium production. It has quadrupled it. And declared that it would no longer comply with key elements of the nuclear deal.

Technically, Iran has not exceeded the enrichment cap set forth in the nuclear deal. Right now the level is consistent with civilian nuclear power development.

But it is on pace to fly past that level. And Iran has threatened to do exactly that. If other nations that signed the deal don’t take steps to help Iran’s economy.

Helima Croft is the global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. She says Iran’s stockpiling of uranium raises concerns about the proliferation of nuclear materials.

“We are woefully underappreciating the seriousness of this crisis,” she said. “The question is, can we keep playing chicken without a head-on collision?”

Iran-Based Attacks Increase

The U.S. is concerned about more than just Iran’s uranium enrichment increase. On June 13, the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet came to the aid of two oil tankers following an attack in the Gulf of Oman.

Trump quickly blamed the attack on Iran quoting, “They’re a nation of terror and they’ve changed a lot since I’ve been president, I can tell you,” Trump said. He added that Iran is upset about U.S. sanctions that are hurting its economy.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Iranians of launching a “blatant assault” on the tankers in the Gulf.

Not only that, but a day prior a missile fired by the Iran-backed Houthi militia hit an airport in Saudi Arabia. A total of 26 people were injured. Saudi Arabia has threatened retaliation.

Trump Warns of Iran’s ‘Official End’ – as U.S. Military Presence Grows

Not too long before the oil tanker attack, a rocket landed near the U.S. embassy in Bagdad, Iraq. Trump responded by warning Iran not to threaten the U.S. or it would face its “official end.”

For months, the U.S. has built up its deployment of bombers in the Persian Gulf. And sent the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. Plus the USS Kearsarge, an American assault ship.

U.S. officials also said an additional deployment of 5,000 military personnel to the region is being considered. Included would be Patriot missile batteries. For the purpose of shooting down incoming missiles. As well as aircraft and warships.

Those officials have emphasized that any buildup would be defensive in nature. They intend to isolate Iran until it gives up its nuclear ambitions.

‘A Very, Very Dangerous Game’

Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Iranian foreign minister. He says the U.S. is “playing a very, very dangerous game.”

Iranian officials have denied any intention of attacking U.S. They’ve also said they are ready to defend themselves against the U.S.

But all it would take is for one country to make a miscalculation to change the conversation. And some Iranian hardliners might even welcome a war.

Both U.S. and Iranian military forces are not far from each other. And that’s all over the region. Including Iraq, where pro-Iranian militias have attacked U.S. troops.

Growing Tensions Highlight the Need for
Protection Against Radiation Risk

Simply put, things are becoming increasing unstable in a region already known for instability. And the war drums are beating louder and louder.

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It’s Up to You to Protect Your Family

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