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Construction work at Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran, on Nov. 10, 2019. (Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, US intelligence officials say, while Tehran is looking for a backup plan in case a lasting nuclear deal with world powers fails to materialize.

The intelligence agency suggests that Iran has asked Russia for help in obtaining additional nuclear material and manufacturing nuclear fuel, sources informed on the matter said. The fuel could help Iran power its nuclear reactors and could potentially further shorten Iran’s so-called “breakthrough time” to make a nuclear weapon.

However, experts told CNN that the risk of nuclear proliferation varies depending on which reactor the fuel is used for. And it’s also not clear whether Russia has agreed to help — the Kremlin has long outwardly opposed Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

But the Iranian proposal came amid a growing Iran-Russia partnership, including in recent months Iran has been sending drones and other equipment to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine, and Moscow may be advising Tehran on how a protest movement is sweeping Iran. , to suppress. US officials said.

Iran has said that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and that it has formally halted its weapons program, but US officials have stated that Iran’s uranium enrichment activities have gone well beyond the parameters of the 2015 nuclear deal and that the amount of time it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon has been reduced to just a few months.

In June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned lawmakers that Iran’s nuclear “program is advancing … The longer this goes on, the more the outbreak time decreases … it is now, according to public reports, to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will be a matter of weeks.”

The Biden administration is looking with concern at new areas of cooperation between Iran and Russia. Any covert Russian aid to Iran that could boost Iran’s efforts to produce a nuclear weapon would also represent a major shift in Russian policy, given Russia’s membership of the P5+1 group of countries that were part of the negotiations to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.

“As we have said, the JCPOA is not on the agenda,” National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson told CNN, referring to the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “We have worked with partners to expose the growing ties between Iran and Russia – and hold them accountable. We will stand firm against any cooperation that would conflict with our non-proliferation goals.”

The Iranian Mission to the UN and the Russian Foreign Ministry have not returned requests for comment.

Correction: An earlier version of this story was updated to clarify the description of Iran’s nuclear program.

Read the full story here.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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