With world attention understandably focused on the Ukraine crisis, we should not be surprised that rogue nations should be seeking to exploit the conflict in order to advance their own nefarious agendas.
For most of the past decade, British security officials, when asked to rank hostile states that threaten our national wellbeing, have put Russia in first place, with China coming a close second. Other threats, such as those posed by Iran and North Korea, as well as the continuing challenge presented by militant Islamist groups, have been deemed less immediate while still worthy of close monitoring.
The suggestion, therefore, that the Islamic Republic of Iran is now regarded as posing the second most potent threat to Britain in security circles shows just how much progress the ayatollahs have made in developing their military strength while the rest of the world has been distracted by the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine.
Western security officials have been obliged to revise their assessment of the Iranian threat following the alarming revelation by nuclear inspectors that uranium particles enriched to 83.7 per cent purity have been discovered at Iran’s Fordow plant, constructed deep beneath a mountain so that it cannot be targeted by Western air strikes.
Another fiction that Tehran has tried to maintain over the past two decades or so is that it has no interest in developing nuclear weapons, and that all its nuclear activities are for peaceful objectives, such as providing alternative energy sources.
If that is the case, why have inspectors working for the UN-sponsored International Atomic Energy Agency found traces of uranium at Fordow that are just short of the 90 per cent enrichment level required to make nuclear weapons?
It is not the first time that inspectors have found undeclared traces of highly enriched uranium at Iranian facilities. Prior to the nuclear deal with Iran that the Barack Obama administration helped negotiate in 2015, the main cause of the stand-off between Iran and the West was Tehran’s refusal to explain the discovery of enriched particles at several sites.