Two days before the start of negotiations designed to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, Iran on Sunday said it opened a medical center for “nuclear emergencies” at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
The center was inaugurated at a ceremony attended by several top nuclear officials, Iran’s Fars news agency reported. Among them was Iran’s atomic energy agency deputy head for security and civil defense, Asqar Zare’an.
Zare’an later Sunday “also took part in a number of other ceremonies held to mark the start of other nuclear projects, including the launch of nuclear sensor machines,” Fars reported, without further elaboration.
The interim deal signed between the world’s P5+1 countries and Iran in Geneva in November allowed Iran to continue low-level enrichment, and US President Barack Obama said in December that he could envisage Iran retaining “some modest enrichment capability” even under a permanent accord. Talks on that permanent accord are to begin in Vienna on Tuesday. The Geneva deal provides for daily inspection at Natanz by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu castigated the Geneva accord as a “historic mistake” because it allowed Iran to continue to enrich uranium, and did not tackle weaponization and other aspects of the rogue Iranian nuclear program. A permanent accord, Netanyahu has said, must ensure the complete dismantling of Iran’s “military nuclear” capabilities. Netanyahu has threatened to act alone if necessary to prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons.
Iran has threatened to strike back at Israel and the US in the event of any attack on its nuclear facilities. On February 7, Iranian state TV ran a documentary featuring a computerized video of Iran’s drones and missiles bombing Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben-Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor in a simulated retaliation for a hypothetical Israeli or American strike on the Islamic Republic. The clip also showed simulated attacks on American targets in the region, including an aircraft-carrier.
Earlier Sunday, in the latest of a series of belligerent statements ahead of the nuclear talks, the commander of Iran’s Army ground forces on Sunday declared that the US is heading for collapse. Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan was also quoted by Fars warning Washington against any military action against Iran.
Last week, Iran’s chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi warned the Islamic republic’s foes that Iran was prepared for a “decisive battle” if attacked.
And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the West should not have any delusions about using a military option. “I say explicitly, if some have delusions of having any threats against Iran on their tables, they need to wear new glasses. There is no military option against Iran on any table in the world,” he said.