The Trump administration is dealing with pressure to ultimately rule out a longstanding request by Iran to purchase 950 tons of natural uranium. Tehran has shown that it will petition again for the natural uranium next week at a quarterly meeting in Vienna.
The Obama administration allegedly approved the Iranian request in its few final weeks. Luckily it was blocked by the United Kingdom. Iran has indicated that it will reissue the request, setting up a key test for the Trump administration, which has placed the nuclear deal under a comprehensive review.
Trump officials indicated that the administration has not yet decided whether it will repeal the Obama-era decision and disallow Iran from importing the natural uranium.
“I would certainly hope we would use all our leverage to prevent such a purchase by Iran,” one senior White House official said.
“We do not comment on the deliberations of the Joint Commission, as has been agreed to by all participating parties.”
The proposal is gaining resistance from Congress, with Florida senator Marco Rubio. Rubio is contacting the Trump administration to eliminate any possibility of approval.
“The Iranian regime remains an illegitimate nuclear actor, with international inspectors still unable to conclusively verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran,” he told. “Vetoing Iran’s proposal to buy 950 tons of uranium yellowcake from Kazakhstan should be a no-brainer. Iran does not need this nuclear material, which far exceeds its needs and could someday be further enriched for the purposes of nuclear weapons.”
The Iranian petition is something that would seem easy to say no to. The problem is anti-interventionists will complain about how we’d get involved by saying no. Others would have legitimate concerns about the safety of Israelis and Americans. Natural uranium isn’t something to be taken lightly and Iran isn’t asking a little bit.