Iran’s 20% uranium enrichment option ‘no bluff’ if JCPOA parties fail to save it
Iran’s nuclear chief says the Islamic Republic is not "bluffing" when it says it is ready to resume twenty-percent uranium enrichment in the Fordow nuclear facility in case other parties to the Iran nuclear deal fail to save the 2015 accord.
According to Press TV, Ali Akbar Salehi said that under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran accepted to put confidence-building curbs on its nuclear program, but they do not obstruct the “peaceful activities of Iran’s nuclear industry”.
“The enrichment is currently underway, but we would put aside the 300kg limit [set by the nuclear agreement] whenever we wish, and would do the enrichment at any volume and level,” Salehi said in an interview with state TV on the sidelines of a visit to the Fordow nuclear facility.
“We currently have 1,044 centrifuges in Fordow, and if the establishment wants, we will restart 20-percent uranium enrichment in Fordow,” he noted.
He expressed hope that the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement would deliver on their promise and implement their commitments in order to fill the gap created by the US after its unilateral withdrawal from deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Otherwise, he said, Iran will have to reduce its JCPOA commitments.
“I would like to warn that this is not a bluff; I have kept my word whenever I’ve said something. Now I’m emphasizing once again that if the establishment wants, we can easily return to the 20-percent enrichment, and meet the country’s needs at any level and volume,” he noted.
US President Donald Trump withdrew his country in May from the landmark Iran nuclear deal, and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the deal, reached between Iran and six major powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- Tehran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
According to the text of the nuclear deal, Iran must “keep its level of uranium enrichment at up to 3.67 percent for 15 years.”
Iran should also convert the Fordow facility into a nuclear, physics and technology center, the deal further says.
Salehi’s warning came as the European Union has vowed to establish a mechanism to facilitate non-dollar transactions with Iran in the near future in an attempt to circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said Monday.
“I will expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.