Iran says it is ‘enhancing’ nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment
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Iran says it is ‘enhancing’ nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment

Tehran nuclear chief Salehi hails technological progress, says Iran establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with top Iranian nuclear official Ali Akbar Salehi on June 30, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (US State Department)
US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with top Iranian nuclear official Ali Akbar Salehi on June 30, 2015, in Vienna, Austria. (US State Department)

Iran is enhancing its nuclear activities, and has improved its capacity to enrich uranium, Iran’s nuclear chief told a gathering of his country’s diplomats in Tehran on Saturday.

“We are enhancing the industrial section of Iran’s nuclear activities technologically with modern systems and machines,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who was a key figure in the negotiation of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers.

Salehi spoke of advances in enrichment capability, asserting that the quality of process of uranium enrichment in Iran is also progressing, according to the Tehran Times.

Iran’s IRNA state news agency reported: “Salehi said that Iran’s nuclear program is on the right path naturally and compatible with the strategic plans of the country in a transparent way based on international factors.”

He also told the envoys, at a conference that focused on the nuclear deal, that Iran is establishing itself as an exporter of nuclear products, including heavy water. “We have improved the country’s situation in the field of the civilian nuclear energy,” Salehi said, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, speaks in Tehran, Iran, on July 15, 2015. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Salehi said earlier this week that Iran was negotiating with Russia to sell 40 tons of its excess heavy water.

The nuclear deal was designed to freeze and inspect Iran’s rogue nuclear program, in return for sanctions relief for the Tehran regime. Critics, notably including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have warned that, far from blocking Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves the way to an Iranian nuclear arsenal.

A satellite image of Iran's Fordo uranium enrichment facility (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe)
A satellite image of Iran’s Fordo uranium enrichment facility. (AP/DigitalGlobe)

Even as the deal is being implemented, Iran’s leaders have kept up a barrage of aggressive rhetoric against the United States and Israel. Earlier this month, for instance, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States is the Middle East’s main enemy, with the “Zionist regime” a close second.

Speaking at a meeting in Tehran with the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, Khamenei said that looking at the turmoil in the region in a “macro” sense, the US was clearly to blame, with Israel following closely behind.

Iran has also been testing ballistic missiles. In March, it tested what it said were missiles with a 2,000-kilometer range, capable of reaching Israel, inscribed with the words, “Israel must be wiped out.”

The Obama administration, which championed the Iran deal, has been under fire at home in recent days after a top presidential adviser, Ben Rhodes, reportedly told the New York Times he created an “echo chamber” of supportive experts in an effort to persuade lawmakers to back the deal. The article also claims Obama misrepresented the timeline of the negotiations in an effort to create a story line that bolstered the administration’s case.

AP contributed to this story.

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