Iran plans to boost uranium enrichment capacity

Clay Curtis
June 5, 2018

Earlier Monday, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency renewed calls for Iran to provide "timely and proactive cooperation" in inspections that are part of the nuclear deal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel was not surprised by Iran's declared intention to increase uranium enrichment capacity and reaffirmed a vow to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Israel's intelligence minister called Tuesday for a military coalition against Iran if the Islamic Republic were to defy world powers by enriching military-grade uranium.

"If the Iranians don't surrender now, and try to return" to unsupervised uranium enrichment, "there should be a clear statement by the President of the United States and all of the Western coalition", he said. The UF6 is a feedstock for centrifuges.

Notwithstanding their agreement on the dangers Iranian military assets pose in Syria, the two leaders diverged with regard to the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He called the accord (which saw Iran curbing its nuclear military program in exchange for the lifting of global sanctions) deeply flawed and wanted a deal that would both limit Tehran's ballistic missile program and its increasing influence in regional affairs.

Iran says the two issues are non-negotiable, and Khamenei reiterated that point on Monday saying that the "missiles are for our own security and our strength".

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"This will inflame a religious war, and the consequences will be many more refugees and you know exactly where they'll come", he added.

Under the agreement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Iran strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs.

European signatories are scrambling to save the accord, which they see as crucial to forestalling an Iranian nuclear weapons, by protecting trade with Iran against the reimposition of USA sanctions to dissuade Tehran from quitting the deal.

"From some European countries we get the message that they expect the Iranian people to both tolerate the sanctions, deal with the sanctions, and go along with them and give up our nuclear energy activities and continue with the restrictions", he told an audience in a Tehran suburb.

All three countries have vowed to try to salvage the hard-fought accord since President Donald Trump announced the USA withdrawal from it last month.

Tehran has complained that it has not benefited financially from the deal even before Trump's decision to withdraw.

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

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