Foreign Intel Agencies Say Iran On Cusp of Testing First Nuke

Iranian military truck carries missiles past portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei / Getty
June 23, 2023

Iran continues to pursue illicit nuclear weapons technology across Europe and is on the cusp of testing its first nuclear warhead, according to intelligence estimates from three separate countries.

"The Iranian regime has consistently sought to obtain technology for its illegal nuclear program and ballistic missile apparatus," according to a summary of separate intelligence products published by the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden during the first half of this year.

The Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service disclosed in April that it had "succeeded a number of times in preventing Russia and Iran from acquiring Dutch knowledge or technology for their nuclear weapons programs," according to a translation of the report published earlier this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute. The country’s intelligence service also determined that Tehran’s advancements, including the enrichment of uranium to levels needed to power a bomb, "brings the option of a possible [Iranian] first nuclear test closer."

The findings come as the Biden administration engages in secret negotiations with Iran aimed at securing an altered version of the 2015 nuclear accord. Reports indicate the administration is promising Tehran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for minor restrictions on its contested nuclear program. Republicans in Congress are already warning that the administration plans on violating the law to secure a deal, which would likely not be authorized by the legislative branch. These plans could result in senior White House and State Department officials being subpoenaed on the matter, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday.

The Netherlands’ intelligence community determined that Iran is "ignoring the agreements" it made as part of the original nuclear deal, including by "deploying increasingly more sophisticated uranium enrichment centrifuges [and] enlarging its enrichment capacity."

The country’s intelligence agencies also "succeeded a number of times in preventing Russia and Iran, among others, from procuring materials, technology, and (applied) scientific knowledge in the Netherlands that they could have used for their nuclear weapons programs."

Swedish intelligence authorities made similar determinations in a February assessment.

"Swedish technology as products with dual uses and critical cutting-edge products for both civilian and military use is of interest to Iran," the Swedish Security Service disclosed. "Iran procures both technology and knowledge through illegal methods, and develops its own ability through Swedish universities and research institutions."

German authorities also disrupted Iranian nuclear procurement plots in the last year.

In one instance, a businessman was charged with "violating the foreign trade law by allegedly supplying spectrometer systems and laboratory equipment intended for the Iranian nuclear and missile program."