Biden’s Dangerous Diplomacy: How Iran’s Nuclear Stockpile is Growing Unchecked

grynold /
grynold /

Last week, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) published a report expressing concerns about the rapid advancement of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The report attributed this progress to failures in the foreign policy of the Biden administration.

The IAEA’s May report indicates a substantial increase in Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, which has grown by 1,489.8 pounds since the agency’s last assessment in February. Iran now holds 13,671.5 pounds of enriched uranium, far exceeding the 661 pounds limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal. Notably, this stockpile includes 313.2 pounds of uranium enriched up to 60 percent. According to Politico, about 92.5 pounds of uranium enriched to 60 percent is sufficient to theoretically create one atomic weapon.  Further enrichment to 90 percent would lead to weapons-grade levels.

The IAEA’s findings underscore that the Obama/Biden administration’s reliance on diplomatic negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions is misguided, as Iran has shown little interest in honoring international agreements. The report suggests that Iran is progressing swiftly towards developing nuclear weapons.

Additionally, Iran’s refusal to allow comprehensive inspections of its nuclear program and its complete barring of IAEA inspectors since September 2023 imply that its actual stockpile might be even larger than reported. IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi warned that Iran has enough enriched uranium to potentially produce multiple nuclear bombs.

Iran’s advancements are attributed to the Biden administration’s policies. Before Joe Biden’s presidency, Iran’s economy was severely affected by the Trump administration’s stringent economic sanctions following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. These sanctions deprived Iran of at least $200 billion in oil revenue, forcing reductions in military spending and financial support for militant proxies. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy was widely praised in the Middle East for its effectiveness in curtailing Iran’s aggressive actions.

President Biden replaced this approach with a policy of appeasement, aiming to revive nuclear negotiations with Iran, believing a new deal would enhance global safety. In an effort to placate Iranian leaders, the Biden administration has provided several economic lifelines to Iran. For example, Iran has reportedly earned $100 billion from oil exports since Biden took office, as the administration has refrained from enforcing the previous sanctions. Additionally, the Biden administration allowed Iran to access $6 billion from unfrozen assets, naively expecting the funds to be used solely for humanitarian purposes.

This influx of cash has enabled Iran to support its proxies in causing significant harm to U.S. military forces, allies, and international commerce. For instance, Hamas executed a terrorist attack against Israel on October 7, 2023. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, armed with Iranian-supplied missiles and drones, continue to target civilian and military sites across the Middle East and threaten international shipping in the Red Sea.

Early this year, a drone attack by Iran-backed militants killed three U.S. service members and injured at least 25 others at a U.S. military base near the Syrian border. Recently, the Middle East nearly descended into full-scale war when Iran launched its first direct missile attack against Israel.

The cash influx also allowed Iran to make significant progress in its nuclear program during Biden’s first term. However, due to the administration’s foreign policy missteps, the world is less safe. More troubling is the Biden administration’s apparent unwillingness to learn from its policy failures. Focused on securing a second term, the administration has prioritized political interests over preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. has pressured European allies not to criticize Iran’s nuclear progress. This has frustrated allies who feel the U.S. lacks a clear strategy to deal with Iran’s nuclear advancements and is unwilling to engage in serious diplomacy or take punitive actions against Tehran. The Journal editorial board warned that while Biden stalls until November, Iran’s enrichment pace is likely to continue.

Iran has made it clear that it views Israel and the United States as mortal enemies. The regime’s fanatic leaders would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons directly or through proxies to destroy Israel and the U.S. An Iran armed with nuclear weapons would be President Biden’s most significant foreign policy failure and a global catastrophe.