Iran informs United Nations of increase in nuclear enrichment capacity

Binyamin Netanyahu the Israeli prime minister presented on TV in April what he said was evidence of Iran’s duplicity

Binyamin Netanyahu the Israeli prime minister presented on TV in April what he said was evidence of Iran’s duplicity Amir Cohen Reuters

Iran announced Tuesday that it has taken steps to increase its capacity for uranium enrichment in a warning of the potential consequences of the US withdrawal last month from the nuclear deal.

Spinning centrifuges convert the gases into enriched uranium that can be used for reactor fuel and medical isotopes.

Last month, in its first report since the U.S. withdrawal, the IAEA said Iran continues to stay below the maximum level of uranium the deal allows it to enrich.

The other parties - Britain, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation - have vowed to stay in the accord but many of their companies have already started to wind down Iranian operations.

In a speech on Monday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to preserve the Islamic country's nuclear program amid growing pressure from the US.

He said he would initiate new sanctions on Iran, ripping up the touchstone agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Iran's top leader warned of the country's harsh respond if attacked by enemies of Tehran, saying that the country's ballistic missile program was essential for defense purposes despite western demands to curb it.

"He wants to put the blame on Iran, but the blame is on the United States and those who pressured the pull out of the deal", Slavin added.

That document, examined by The Times, is dated by Israel to 2001 and authorizes the Iranian military to enrich uranium hexafluoride (UF6) by centrifuges from three percent to more than 90 percent - levels which suggest that Iran meant to build a nuclear weapon.

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The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Tuesday that it has begun work to prepare the infrastructure for building advanced centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment facility, while respecting its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal. Under the global agreement, Iran agreed to dismantle its nuclear program and be subject to monitoring in exchange for the lifting on worldwide nuclear related sanctions.

Benjamin Netanyahu is now on tour to France.

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.

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

In his speech marking the 29th anniversary of the death of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei insisted on resisting US pressure and again warned of a harsh response if Iran came under attack.

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.

The Iran deal paved the way for the partial lifting of global sanctions against the country, in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme for several years.

For all of Iran's fierce public riposte to USA threats of tougher sanctions, some senior Iranian officials see the US position as a "bargaining strategy" and believe the door to a diplomatic compromise should stay open.

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