Iranian President Hasan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Iran is testing their next round of advanced centrifuges—the IR-9, which are used for the enrichment of nuclear fuel—and the same day Israel and the United States discussed enhanced cooperation to push back against Iran. Rouhani, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website, was quoted as telling Iranians living in Malaysia, “Today, our new IR6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR9’s are being tested”.
In the Russian news agency Sputnik’s report on Rouhani’s comments, it was noted that the IR-9 is 50-times faster than the original IR-1 centrifuges according to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The announcement comes as Iran has repeatedly stepped away from commitments under the tottering Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA are intended to pressure Europe into making economic concessions for Iran.
Meanwhile, the same day Rouhani made his announcement, the national security advisors for Israel and the US met to discuss their joint work against Iran.
US National Security Advisor O’Brien and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat “agreed to continue close coordination on countering Iran’s destabilizing influence and activities in the region, as well as monitoring the ramifications of unrest within Iran,” according to an Israeli press release.
To that end, the two national security heads “agreed on the mutual goal of making the United States-Israel relationship even closer as both countries pursue shared interests in the region.” The sides are continuing joint working groups to “dramatically improve bilateral relations in a number of areas,” such as cyber, intelligence, and telecommunications security to “counter the threats posed by Iran and other actors.”
The US exited the JCPOA last year and has engaged in a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Iran in an effort to force the regime to curb is malignant activities in the Middle East. On Wednesday, Rouhani continued to sound defiant, quoted by his website as saying, that“Americans have no choice” but to turn from the sanctions approach. Said Rouhani, “We will force them to do so with our resistance and steadfastness.”
However, Iran is facing more than just the US. In addition to Israel, Ambassador O’Brien on Wednesday noted that “common interests between Israel and Arab states… have made new regional partnerships possible to counter Iran’s malign influence and create a more prosperous and peaceful future for all.”
So while Rouhani was making boasts in one part of the world, over in Washington, D.C., Israel and the US were feeling confident in their own right following the meeting of their respective national security heads.
Said the Israeli press release, “Today was another great day for the United States-Israel relationship, defined by a responsible approach to the challenges and opportunities our two countries face in the Middle East.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 18, 2019)