Iran tells United Nations it will boost nuclear enrichment capacity

Hugh Fox
June 6, 2018

"The Arabs and Israel surely would be there too", Katz told Israel Radio, adding that if Tehran chose to restart uranium enrichment; "a military coalition will be formed against them [Iranians]".

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered the increase in capacity in a speech Monday, in which he vowed that Iran would preserve its nuclear program despite the US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 accord.

The other signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have been scrambling to find ways to keep it going since Trump's announcement that he would pull out and reinstate United States sanctions.

The three European powers are scrambling to save the deal - under which Iran curbed its nuclear programme in return for a lifting of global sanctions - as they regard it as the best chance to stop Tehran developing an atomic bomb.

According to Salehi, Tehran has also increased the capacity to generate electricity at the Natanz facility.

He specified that this was just the start of the production process and "does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges".

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He said Iran had the capacity to accelerate production of centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium.

Tehran's move inevitably increases the sense of tension and it probably does those countries eager to maintain the deal few favours.

Iran denies the pursuit of an atomic programme for military purposes.

Israel has proposed that "a military coalition" be formed against Iran in case Tehran pursues "military-grade" uranium enrichment, suggesting that the military force would comprise of the Israeli regime, the USA, the Western states and their Arab allies.

Mark Dubowitz, the head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a prominent critic of the agreement, said Iran's announced plans will not rescue the agreement as more companies shun the country for fear of running afoul of renewed US sanctions.

Iranian authorities have said that if the European countries failed to keep the pact alive, Tehran had several options, including resuming its 20 per cent uranium enrichment.

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"The words uttered by some European states indicate that they expect the Iranian nation to both agree to comply with the nuclear deal undertakings and live under sanctions", Khamenei added.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran signed with world powers, it can build and test parts for advanced centrifuges, but specific restrictions exist on what technology can be researched and in what quantity within the first decade of the deal.

The 2015 deal limited Iran to 3.67 percent uranium enrichment, which has no military applications and is far below the 90 percent needed to produce a weapon.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian use.

The sanctions he referred to would be imposed by the United States following President Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, so Khamenei was effectively cracking the whip on European leaders to talk Trump out of punishing Iran.

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