Blinken Announces New Sanctions for Iran Over Suspected Nuclear Escalation

( – When former President Barack Obama’s administration negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran agreed to permanently stop producing weapons-grade plutonium, reduce its stockpile, and keep its uranium enrichment level far below the level needed to create a bomb. Nine years later, the Middle Eastern nation is no longer tied to those restrictions and has moved forward with uranium enrichment. There have been reports that the country could produce a nuclear bomb in just one week.

On Thursday, June 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced new sanctions against Iran. He said that over the past month, the country has expanded its enrichment program “in ways that have no credible, peaceful purpose,” which he said is especially concerning given that it has failed “to cooperate with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].”

Blinken also cited statements made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s adviser, Kamal Kharazzi, who said that if “Iran’s existence be threatened, there will be no choice but to change [its] military doctrine.” Those comments, which prompted alarm, were made on the heels of Israel’s attack on a diplomatic compound in Damascus that killed members of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The sanctions will affect three entities in the United Arab Emirates that transport Iranian petrochemical or petroleum products. Eleven vessels associated with those entities will also be designated “blocked property.”

According to the IAEA, the Middle Eastern country has enough 60% purity uranium on hand to build at least three nuclear weapons. Western powers maintain that there’s no reason for the country to have that many. It would be especially dangerous for the country to obtain nukes because of its close ties to terrorist groups in the region and its adversarial relationship with Israel. Blinken said that the United States “remain[s] committed to never letting Iran obtain” one and will “use all elements of national power” to ensure they never do.

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