According to Newsweek, Iran’s defense minister announced that the budget of a defense agency responsible for nuclear research projects will increase by 256%.
Less than a month ago, a scientist who led the agency was assassinated near Tehran.
Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Tuesday that Iran’s Organization for Defense Innovation and Research, according to the Iranian state media Fars News Agency.
Innovation and research) will more than triple the annual budget.
Newsweek said that despite the pressure on Iran to reduce its nuclear activities, the outgoing Trump administration of the United States also threatened not to accept a nuclear-armed Iran, which marked the escalation of the deadlocked Iranian nuclear issue again.
The Iranian Defense Innovation and Research Organization was founded in 2011 and led by Mohsen fakhrizadeh, who is widely regarded as the “father of Iran’s nuclear program”.
The 61-year-old scientist was assassinated on a rural road outside Tehran last month, which Iranian authorities accused Israel of the attack.
Iran Defense Innovation and Research Organization has been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State and the Treasury Department for its activities.
The U.S. State Department has said that the organization is “mainly responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons development” and that “its key personnel have played a central role in the Iranian regime’s past activities in pursuing nuclear weapons”.
The report pointed out that it is not clear whether the United States knew, approved or even supported the assassination of Fahrizad, but Iranian officials hinted that the United States was an accomplice and vowed to retaliate against all those responsible.
The assassination came at the end of four years of tension between the United States and Iran, which have repeatedly approached the brink of war. Trump and his allies have been trying to force Tehran to renegotiate a stricter version of the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement, but failed.
In 2018, Trump, with the support of Israel, withdrew the United States from the agreement.
The report pointed out that Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran is only a few weeks away, and U.S. President-elect Biden vowed to resume dialogue and rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement.
Trump and his allies in Israel are still likely to do more to Iran, whether it is weakening the troubled Iranian regime or making it harder for Biden to unfreeze the relationship between the two countries.
Biden has faced a challenging environment after the assassinations of Fahrizad and Suleimani. Iran said that after Suleimani was killed in a U.S. drone attack in January this year, Iran will no longer comply with any provisions of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Since then, Iran has been expanding its enriched uranium stockpile, which is now 12 times what is allowed by the Iran nuclear agreement, and improving Iran’s ability to enrich more nuclear materials to higher levels.
It is reported that enriched uranium enriched between 3% and 5% can be used as nuclear fuel, while up to 90% of enriched uranium can be used for weapons.
After Fahrizad’s killing, the conservative-dominated Iranian parliament passed a new measure ordering the country’s nuclear agency to expand uranium enrichment, concentrate part of the nuclear raw material to 20%, and prevent IAEA inspectors from entering nuclear facilities.
According to the analysis of Newsweek, Iran’s announcement of an increase in the annual budget of Iran’s Defense Innovation and Research Organization at this time is likely to be seen as putting more demands on the incoming Biden government.
This move is to show Iran’s willingness to advance its nuclear program if diplomatic efforts fail and the United States sanctions are not lifted.
Iranian leaders have said that if Biden makes the United States fully comply with the agreement, they are still open to restarting the Iran nuclear agreement.
But the term of the moderate current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will end next summer, and it is widely expected that he will be replaced by a hardline presidential candidate, possibly even from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which may make the Iranian nuclear agreement and its Negotiations on his issue are more difficult.
Khatami also said Thursday that the increased budget of Iran’s Defense Innovation and Research Organization will also enhance Iran’s missile capabilities.
He said that Iran’s missile capability has become a “thorn in the side of the enemy”.