Ayatollah Orders Iran to Prepare for Increased Uranium Enrichment

06 June, 2018, 03:32 | Author: Donnie King
  • Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

Iran will inform the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency that preparations will begin on Tuesday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, was reported saying by state media.

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Tehran's other partners in the deal - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China - have all condemned Washington's unilateral withdrawal and said they would still live up to their commitments as part of the deal.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said he had ordered preparations for enrichment, should the 2015 nuclear deal fail completely. He also said Iran could no longer have any dealings with the US.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to respond to Tehran's seeming threat to start enriching more uranium.

The modest steps announced Tuesday appeared to be mainly aimed at signalling that Iran could resume its drive toward industrial-scale enrichment if the nuclear accord comes unravelled.

Salehi stressed that his announcement was just the start of the production process and did not mean Iran was about to start assembling centrifuges. He called the accord (which saw Iran curbing its nuclear military program in exchange for the lifting of worldwide sanctions) deeply flawed and wanted a deal that would both limit Tehran's ballistic missile program and its increasing influence in regional affairs.

Major worldwide companies are already beginning to distance themselves from Iran in fear of U.S. sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lands Monday in Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel before heading in the evening to Paris for his next set of talks with President Emmanuel Macron.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz claimed that Iran had once been running an "unsupervised" enrichment scheme with the potential of arming the country with nuclear weapons.

European signatories of the accord back the deal but have concerns over Iran's ballistic missile program and its political influence in the Middle East. Iran says the two issues are non-negotiable.

Earlier the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his three-day European tour is set to be dominated by strategic differences on Iran, as leaders attempt to rescue the nuclear deal after the United States withdrawal.

Mr Netanyahu has hit out at Iran's government, declaring the country used its lifted sanctions to trick Europe, and built its financial reserves before beginning to develop its nuclear capabilities.

The European powers are trying to come up with a package to ring-fence trade with Iran against renewed U.

A Western official said: "If Iran does not get the financial guarantees in oil and access to the financial system, then I don't see Iran sticking to the deal because the pressure from hardliners is only increasing".


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