East Coast Quakes and the Sixth Seal: Revelation 6

Items lie on the floor of a grocery store after an earthquake on Sunday, August 9, 2020 in North Carolina.

East Coast Quakes: What to Know About the Tremors Below

By Meteorologist Dominic Ramunni Nationwide PUBLISHED 7:13 PM ET Aug. 11, 2020 PUBLISHED 7:13 PM EDT Aug. 11, 2020

People across the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic were shaken, literally, on a Sunday morning as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in North Carolina on August 9, 2020.

Centered in Sparta, NC, the tremor knocked groceries off shelves and left many wondering just when the next big one could strike.

Fault Lines

Compared to the West Coast, there are far fewer fault lines in the East. This is why earthquakes in the East are relatively uncommon and weaker in magnitude.

That said, earthquakes still occur in the East.

According to Spectrum News Meteorologist Matthew East, “Earthquakes have occurred in every eastern U.S. state, and a majority of states have recorded damaging earthquakes. However, they are pretty rare. For instance, the Sparta earthquake Sunday was the strongest in North Carolina in over 100 years.”

While nowhere near to the extent of the West Coast, damaging earthquakes can and do affect much of the eastern half of the country.

For example, across the Tennesse River Valley lies the New Madrid Fault Line. While much smaller in size than those found farther west, the fault has managed to produce several earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the last couple hundred years.

In 1886, an estimated magnitude 7.0 struck Charleston, South Carolina along a previously unknown seismic zone. Nearly the entire town had to be rebuilt.

Vulnerabilities

The eastern half of the U.S. has its own set of vulnerabilities from earthquakes.

Seismic waves actually travel farther in the East as opposed to the West Coast. This is because the rocks that make up the East are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of years older than in the West.

These older rocks have had much more time to bond together with other rocks under the tremendous pressure of Earth’s crust. This allows seismic energy to transfer between rocks more efficiently during an earthquake, causing the shaking to be felt much further.

This is why, during the latest quake in North Carolina, impacts were felt not just across the state, but reports of shaking came as far as Atlanta, Georgia, nearly 300 miles away.

Reports of shaking from different earthquakes of similar magnitude.

Quakes in the East can also be more damaging to infrastructure than in the West. This is generally due to the older buildings found east. Architects in the early-to-mid 1900s simply were not accounting for earthquakes in their designs for cities along the East Coast.

When a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia in 2011, not only were numerous historical monuments in Washington, D.C. damaged, shaking was reported up and down the East Coast with tremors even reported in Canada.

Unpredictable

There is no way to accurately predict when or where an earthquake may strike.

Some quakes will have a smaller earthquake precede the primary one. This is called a foreshock.

The problem is though, it’s difficult to say whether the foreshock is in fact a foreshock and not the primary earthquake. Only time will tell the difference.

The United State Geological Survey (USGS) is experimenting with early warning detection systems in the West Coast.

While this system cannot predict earthquakes before they occur, they can provide warning up to tens of seconds in advance that shaking is imminent. This could provide just enough time to find a secure location before the tremors begin.

Much like hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms, earthquakes are a natural occuring phenomenon that we can prepare for.

The USGS provides an abundance of resources on how to best stay safe when the earth starts to quake.

Iran nuclear deal hangs in balance as Islamic Republic votes: Daniel 8

Iran nuclear deal hangs in balance as Islamic Republic votes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers hangs in the balance as the country prepares to vote on Friday for a new president and diplomats press on with efforts to get both the U.S. and Tehran to reenter the accord. 

The deal represents the signature accomplishment of the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s eight years in office: suspending crushing sanctions in exchange for the strict monitoring and limiting of Iran’s uranium stockpile. 

The deal’s collapse with President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from the agreement in 2018 spiraled into a series of attacks and confrontations across the wider Middle East. It also prompted Tehran to enrich uranium to highest purity levels so far, just shy of weapons-grade levels.

With analysts and polling suggesting that a hard-line candidate already targeted by U.S. sanctions will win Friday’s vote, a return to the deal may be possible but it likely won’t lead to a further detente between Iran and the West. 

“It’s certainly not as complex as drafting a deal from scratch, which is what the sides did that resulted in the 2015 deal,” said Henry Rome, a senior analyst focusing on Iran at the Eurasia Group. “But there’s still a lot of details that need to be worked out.”

He added: “I think there’s a lot of domestic politics that go into this and an interest from hard-liners, including the supreme leader, to ensure that their favored candidate wins without any significant disruptions to that process.”

The 2015 deal, which saw Iranians flood into the streets in celebration, marked a major turn after years of tensions between Iran and the West over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has long insisted that its program is for peaceful purposes. However, U.S. intelligence agencies and International Atomic Energy Agency say Iran pursued an organized nuclear weapons program up until 2003. 

In order to ease the threat seen by the West, Iran agreed under the deal to limit its enrichment of uranium gas to just 3.67% purity, which can be used in nuclear power plants but is far below weapons-grade levels of 90%. It also put a hard cap on Iran’s uranium stockpile to just 300 kilograms (661 pounds). Tehran also committed to using only 5,060 of its first-generation centrifuges, the devices that spin the uranium gas to enrich it.

Before the deal, Iran had been enriching up to 20% and had a stockpile of some 10,000 kilograms (22,046 pounds). That amount at that enrichment level narrowed Iran’s so-called “breakout” time — how long it would take for Tehran to be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one atomic bomb.

Prior to the deal, experts estimated Iran needed two to three months to reach that point. Under the deal, officials put that period at around a year. The deal also subjected Iran to some of the most-stringent monitoring ever by the IAEA to monitor its program and ensure its compliance. 

What the deal didn’t do, however, was involve Iran’s ballistic missile program or Tehran’s support of militant groups around the region — such as the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Palestinian Hamas — that the West and its allies have designated terrorist organizations. At the time, the Obama administration suggested further negotiations could spring from the deal. However, Trump entered the White House on a promise to “tear up” the accord in part over that, which he ultimately did in 2018. 

In the time since, Iran has broken all the limits it agreed to under the deal. It now enriches small amounts of uranium up to 63% purity. It spins far-more advanced centrifuges. The IAEA hasn’t been able to access its surveillance cameras at Iranian nuclear sites since late February, nor data from its online enrichment monitors and electronic seals — hobbling the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s monitoring abilities. Iran also restarted enrichment at a hardened underground facility and is building more centrifuge halls underground, after two attacks suspected to have been carried out by Israel

If Iran’s nuclear program remains unchecked, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned it could shrink Tehran’s “breakout” time down to “a matter of weeks.” That has worried nonproliferation experts.

“I think for the international community — and specifically for the United States — putting the nuclear program back into a box is critical,” said Sanam Vakil, the deputy head of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa program who studies Iran. “It’s important because beyond the nuclear agreement, the negotiators are ultimately hoping to lengthen and strengthen the deal. And so you can’t even get there until the current deal is stabilized.”

Since President Joe Biden took office, his diplomats have been working with other world powers to come up with a way to return both the U.S. and Iran to the deal in negotiations in Vienna. There have been no direct U.S.-Iran in those negotiations, though separate talks have been underway involving a possible prisoner swap.

In Friday’s presidential election in Iran, hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi appears to be the front-runner. He’s already said he wants to return Iran to the nuclear deal to take advantage of its economic benefits. But given his previous belligerent statements toward the U.S., further cooperation with the West at the moment appears unlikely. 

Meanwhile, it remains unclear when a deal will be reached in Vienna. And while Iran has broken through all the accord’s limits, there’s still more it could do to increase pressure on the West. Those steps could include using more centrifuges, further increasing enrichment, restarting a facility that makes plutonium as a byproduct or abandoning a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. 

“It’s a very fine tool,” Rome said. “The Iranian political leadership can decide quite specifically what type of signal it wants to send, whether that’s the type of machines it uses, the speed of the production, the quantity of the production in order to send a message to the West about the degree of pressure it wants to put on.”

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP

How Israel is spurring on the Iranian nuclear horn: Daniel 8

Israel’s bombing of an Iraqi nuclear site forty years ago didn’t end Saddam’s program — it accelerated it. This pattern is repeating with Iran today.

Nuclear nationalism: An unintended consequence of Israel’s bombings

On June 7, 1981, an Israeli air strikedestroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor. A trove of newly declassified American documents released by the National Security Archive has archivists arguing that the strike did not eliminate Iraq’s programme, but rather compelled Saddam Hussein to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Indeed, Saddam’s pursuit of these weapons of mass destruction after 1981 provided the rationale, decades later, for the US invasion in 2003 to dismantle these weapons — ones that had already been dismantled by the UN and the Iraqis themselves after the nineties.

These events reveal two dynamics that link the past to the present. First, just as American weaponry proved critical in the raid on Iraq’s nuclear facility four decades ago, it also enabled Israel’s latest war in Gaza.

Second, just as the Israeli airstrike in 1981 led to more Iraqi scientists signing up to work on their national nuclear program, Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists have led to the same “nuclear nationalism” today.

The US – Israel ‘special relationship’

On June 11, the New York Times released a report titled, “The American Bomb Behind Many of the Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza.” It focused on the US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), a GPS kit for a far older American weapon, the Mark 80-series bomb, deployed in Gaza during the fighting this May.

A dozen of the Mark-84, the largest of the Mark-80 series, was used to destroy Iraq’s nuclear facilities. This brings us to the first ongoing dynamic: US weaponry enables Israeli foreign policy, in this case, counter-proliferation.

Forty years ago, Israel attempted to prevent nuclear proliferation in Iraq by destroying its Osirak reactor with American-made F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft and the aforementioned bombs. Forty years later, Israel attempted to prevent the proliferation of rockets used by Hamas with the same American-supplied weapons. 

In both cases, the recipients of Israel’s bombings are even more determined to pursue these weapons in the future. 

Granted, Israel could have used aircraft and bombs from any country in these two cases, and has a robust indigenous weapons program. But the weapons symbolise the symbiotic relationship between the US and Israel — a fact that is not lost on those on the receiving end.

Israel’s counter-proliferation from the air proves to be a delaying tactic that confounds the problem rather than solves it, a lesson it has not learned with Iran. 

The fallout: Nuclear nationalism

Political scientist Jacques Hymans writes that “[c]ounterproliferation attacks are highly likely to engender a strong nationalist upsurge among the proliferant state scientific and technical workers.” He quotes an Iraqi who said that “the Israeli bombing of Tammuz I [ie Osirak] had infuriated many, and they were practically forming a line to participate in ending the Jewish state’s monopoly of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”

He concludes that gaining the scientists’ commitment, many of whom were reluctant to work on an Iraqi program before the attack, would have been more valuable to Saddam than the hardware — the reactor.

This lesson applies to Israel’s counterproliferation strategy for Iran. In November 2020, it is widely believedthat Israel, with other parties, was responsible for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

While that assassination may have only killed one man, it is likely to inspire a new generation of Iranians to pursue nuclear science, part of an Iranian “nuclear nationalism” emerging as a result of the assassinations of the nation’s scientists in the past.

Violations of its sovereignty and the assassination of its nuclear scientists on Iranian soil only inflame this nationalism. It serves as a unifying rallying point within the country, a matter of pride that the nation has overcome the technological hurdles in developing such a program.

Thus, while the parties behind the assassination sought to weaken the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, its violence only temporarily sets back this initiative. Iranians have related to me that throngs of students studying other fields switched to nuclear sciences, as was seen in the aftermath of the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. We will likely see hundreds of Fakhrizadehs in the future.

Reflections on the past

Nationalism alone is not enough for a successful nuclear weapons project. Yet proliferation and use of tangible military technology and hardware also produce intangible sentiments and resentment that travel over time and place.

Forty years ago, US weaponry enabled Israel’s policy over the skies of Iraq, and in the present over Gaza. When they hit the ground, they destroy buildings, military hardware and combatants, but also civilians, leading to enduring resentments that cannot be destroyed by weapons. Thus, the Osirak raid provides lessons, even decades later, for America’s drone campaign.

Finally, the Osirak raid serves as another reminder of why it behoves both Washington and Tehran to recommit to the nuclear deal.  It is such multilateral initiatives that prevent reckless unilateral actions that may jeopardise regional stability. 

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.

We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to opinion.editorial@trtworld.com

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an associate professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of The Modern History of Iraq, 4th edition.

The Iranian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 8

60% Enriched Uranium’s Stockpile at 6.5kg

60% Enriched Uranium’s Stockpile at 6.5kg…..

Iran has made 6.5 kg of uranium enriched to up to 60%, the government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Ali Rabiei said the country had also produced 108 kg of uranium enriched to 20% purity, indicating quicker output than the rate required by the Iranian law that created the process.

Iran said in April it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that would take the uranium much closer to the 90% suitable for a nuclear bomb, after Tehran accused arch-foe Israel of sabotaging a key nuclear site. 

Tehran says its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes and denies any military aspect to its activities. It says it needs 60% enriched uranium for medical applications. 

Tuesday’s disclosure came as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in Vienna aimed at finding ways to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. 

Iran’s parliament passed a law last year to oblige the government to harden its nuclear stance, partly in reaction to former US president Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Trump’s withdrawal and the reimposition of US sanctions prompted Iran to steadily overstep the accord’s limits on its nuclear program.

“Under parliament’s law…, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was supposed to produce 120 kg of 20% enriched uranium in a year. According to the latest report, we now have produced 108 kg of 20% uranium in the past five months,” Rabiei said, ISNA reported.

“In the area of 60% uranium production, in the short time that has elapsed…, about 6.5 kg has been produced,” Rabiei added.

A quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear activities by the UN nuclear watchdog in May said that, as of May 22, Tehran had produced 62.8 kg of uranium enriched up to 20%, and 2.4 kg of uranium enriched up to 60%, with the next level down being enriched to between 2% and 5%.

Israel strikes outside the Temple Walls for a second time since cease-fire ended: Revelation 11

Israel strikes Gaza for a second time since a shaky cease-fire ended last month’s 11-day war

By JOSEPH KRAUSS

Associated Press

Jun 17, 2021 at 7:34 PM 

JERUSALEM — Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip late Thursday for a second time since a shaky cease-fire ended last month’s 11-day war. The strikes came after activists mobilized by Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers launched incendiary balloons into Israel for a third straight day.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the strikes, which could be heard from Gaza City. Israel also carried out airstrikes early Wednesday, targeting what it is said were Hamas facilities, without killing or wounding anyone.

The military said fighter jets struck Hamas “military compounds and a rocket launch site” late Thursday in response to the balloons. It said its forces were preparing for a “variety of scenarios including a resumption of hostilities.”

Rocket sirens went off in Israeli communities near Gaza shortly after the airstrikes. The military later said they were triggered by “incoming fire, not rockets.”

Surveillance camera footage obtained by The Associated Press showed what appeared to be heavy machine-gun fire into the air from Gaza, a possible attempt by Palestinian militants to shoot down aircraft. Other footage showed projectiles being fired from Gaza, but it was unclear what kind or where they landed.

Tensions have remained high since a cease-fire halted the war on May 21, even as Egyptian mediators have met with Israeli and Hamas officials to try and shore up the informal truce.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and countless smaller skirmishes since the Islamic militant group seized power from rival Palestinians forces in 2007. Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians, since Hamas took over.

Earlier, Israeli police used stun grenades and a water cannon spraying skunk water to disperse Palestinian protesters from Damascus Gate in east Jerusalem, the epicenter of weeks of protests and clashes in the run-up to the Gaza war.

After the crowds were dispersed, Palestinians could be seen throwing rocks and water bottles at ultra-Orthodox Jews walking in the area.

Calls had circulated for protesters to gather at Damascus Gate in response to a rally held there by Jewish ultranationalists on Tuesday in which dozens of Israelis had chanted “Death to Arabs” and “May your village burn.” The police had forcibly cleared the square and provided security for that rally, part of a parade to celebrate Israel’s conquest of east Jerusalem.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian teenager died Thursday after being shot by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank during a protest against a settlement outpost, the fourth demonstrator to be killed since the outpost was established last month.

The Israeli military said Wednesday that a soldier stationed near the wildcat outpost in the West Bank saw a group of Palestinians approaching, and that one “hurled a suspicious object at him, which exploded adjacent to the soldier.” The army said that the soldier fired in the air, then shot the Palestinian who threw the object.

Israeli police deploy at a Palestinian protest at the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, June 17, 2021 against incendiary chants used by ultranationalist Israelis at their "Flags March" at the same site on Tuesday.
Israeli police deploy at a Palestinian protest at the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, June 17, 2021 against incendiary chants used by ultranationalist Israelis at their “Flags March” at the same site on Tuesday. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Thursday that Ahmad Shamsa, 15, died of a gunshot wound sustained a day earlier.

Settlers established the outpost, which they refer to as Eviatar, near the northern West Bank town of Nablus last month and say it is now home to dozens of families. Palestinians say it is built on private land and fear it will grow and merge with other large settlements nearby.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in some 130 settlements across the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians and much of the international community view the settlements as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace.

Israeli authorities have evacuated the outpost on several occasions. They appear reluctant to do so this time because it would embarrass Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other right-wing members of the fragile government sworn in over the weekend.

Palestinians from the nearby village of Beita have held several protests in which demonstrators have hurled stones and Israeli troops have fired tear gas and live ammunition. Four Palestinians have been killed since mid-May, including Shamsa and another teenager.

The Israeli military also shot and killed a Palestinian woman on Wednesday, saying she had tried to ram her car into a group of soldiers guarding a West Bank construction site.

In a statement, the army said soldiers fired at the woman in Hizmeh, just north of Jerusalem, after she exited the car and pulled out a knife. The statement did not say how close the woman was to the soldiers, and the army did not release any photos or video of the incident.

Israel Hits Hamas Targets Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israel Hits Hamas Targets With The 1st Airstrikes Since Cease-Fire Deal

By Jaclyn Diaz & Deborah Amos Jun 16, 2021 

Originally published on June 16, 2021 1:28 pm 

Overnight, tensions between Israel and Hamas erupted into violence, posing a potential threat to the brief period of peace reached between the two just weeks ago.

Israeli jets struck two targets early Wednesday in Gaza. In a tweet, which included a video of the attack, the Israel Defense Forces said its “fighter jets struck Hamas military compounds last night, which were used as meeting sites for Hamas terror operatives. Hamas will bear the consequences for its actions.”

The IDF said it’s “prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip.” 

It’s unclear if there were any injuries or deaths tied to the airstrikes. 

The IDF launched this attack evidently in retaliation for a series of incendiary balloons launched by Hamas hours earlier. The balloons caused at least 20 fires on Israel’s southern border. 

Those balloons were in response to a flag march in Jerusalem earlier Tuesday during which Israeli nationalists marched through Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem waving flags, with some yelling, “Death to Arabs.”

Palestinian leaders, who saw the march as a provocation, called for a “Day of Rage.” Israeli police responded to Palestinian demonstrators by attempting to disperse them with rubber bullets. 

The tit for tat throughout Tuesday upended the brief cease-fire reached May 21 after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.

How did this start?

The Jerusalem Day flag march, that appears to have ignited tensions on Tuesday, is an annual event that marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. 

Israel’s new right-wing prime minister, Naftali Bennett, is aligned with the marchers. He approved the twice-postponed event but altered the route to reduce confrontations with Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. 

The event still led to 17 arrests and 27 injuries of Palestinians after clashes with Israeli police. 

What does this mean for Bennett’s new government?

Israel is in the middle of a major transition. The events of the past 24 hours comes just three days into the nation’s new government.

Bennett was sworn in on Sunday after his diverse coalition unseated longtime Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Feelings within the coalition toward the flag march are split. 

While Bennett supported the march, Yair Lapid, the new foreign minister, condemned the event. Lapid said chants of “Death to Arabs” is “not Judaism and not Israeli.”

Bennett and his new government, which is under pressure from the right to be tough on Hamas, must now navigate increasingly tense relations with the Palestinian organization just days into their new roles.Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Iran Continues to Nuke UP: Daniel 8

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reviews Iran's new nuclear achievements during Iran's National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. (photo credit: IRANIAN PRESIDENCY OFFICE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Iran bolsters nuclear enrichment, despite election

As elections are set to begin in Iran, the country continues enrichment of uranium for its nuclear program, even as the Biden administration discusses reentering the Nuclear Deal

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN   JUNE 16, 2021 20:28

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reviews Iran’s new nuclear achievements during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021.(photo credit: IRANIAN PRESIDENCY OFFICE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)AdvertisementIran is in the midst of a run-up to a presidential election. Although not considered a major contest, it is getting a lot of media attention in the country. This means that the regime is ostensibly distracted by the race, which has resulted in reduced rhetoric against the US and Israel. Nevertheless, pro-Iranian proxies in the region, such as in Iraq and Yemen, continue their attacks.Tehran has now returned to the enrichment game, using uranium enrichment as a way to pressure the US and the West into giving Iran concessions. For America, this means trying to get President Joe Biden’s administration to reenter the “Iran deal.”Read More Related Articles

What can be seen in the latest news from the Islamic Republic’s enrichment propaganda machine? According to the reports, “Iran raises tensions with higher uranium enrichment” with 6.5 kg. of uranium enriched to 60%.The world does not get to see the 6.5 kg. – we just have to take the Iranian regime’s word for it. According to a report from The National in the UAE, “Anywhere between 12 kg. and 40 kg. of 90% enriched uranium would be needed to make a bomb, depending on the sophistication of the device, according to the US Union of Concerned Scientists.“Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted by state media as saying the country had also produced 108 kg. of uranium enriched to 20% purity, indicating quicker output than the rate required by the Iranian law that created the process,” the report said.On April 30, reports said that Tehran had “about 17 kg. of uranium enriched to 20% purity as of mid-February – and it has said it plans to produce 120 kg. in total during 2021.” It already had 55 kg. enriched to 20% by that time, other reports noted.However, Iran also said in May that it had enriched uranium up to 63% purity, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under the 2015 “Iran deal” the country was not supposed to exceed 4% enrichment or stockpile more than 202 kg. of the enriched uranium, even at that low amount. In total it was not supposed to have more than 300 kg.

But Iran has been violating the agreement consistently. By June 2020, it had stockpiled 1,571 kg. of low-enriched uranium, more than the March 2020 estimate of 1,020 kg. By February 2021, Iran had 2,967 kg., more than the 2,442 it had the previous November. By this time it already had 17.6 kg. enriched to 20%; by May this had reached 62.8 kg. enriched to 20% and 2.4 kg. enriched to 60%, with 3,241 kg. of enriched uranium in total.Iran plays the West with its enrichment announcements and declarations. It said in mid-April that it would enrich to 60%, a level that only countries seeking to make a nuclear bomb would be trying to achieve. The amount of enriched uranium matters: The first US atomic bomb dropped in 1945 had 64 kg. of uranium enriched to more than 80%.Iran’s use of enrichment could be part of a dash to construct and test a nuclear weapon. But the fact that the Islamic Republic makes much of this information public, while hiding other details of its program, suggests that part of the enrichment announcements are designed for public consumption in order to put pressure on the US and the West.In February, it was revealed that the IAEA found uranium traces at two undeclared sites in Iran. The international community wants answers about any undeclared nuclear material. This indicates that Tehran has both a secretive side to its program and a public one. What is known widely are the various reports over recent years about the increased enrichment, illustrating a pattern of slow increases and stockpiles that are designed to pressure the US to return to the deal.