Iran threatens faster uranium enrichment if nuclear deal is violated
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Iran threatens faster uranium enrichment if nuclear deal is violated

Year after pact aimed at thwarting Tehran's rogue nuclear program was signed, atomic chief and speaker of parliament discuss new enrichment plans

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)

Tehran’s nuclear chief on Wednesday threatened that Iran would quickly resume uranium enrichment at a faster pace than before if the US-led P5+1 were to violate the year-old nuclear deal, and the speaker of Iran’s parliament called for preparation to build a new nuclear plant to carry out such enrichment.

Speaking a year after the deal was signed, and amid Iranian complaints that promised economic advantages have yet to fully materialize, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said in a TV interview reported by Fars news that Iran can enrich uranium at an even higher capacity than before the agreement was signed. “We can go to better conditions compared with the past as quickly as possible,” he said. “Of course, this will happen if the other side violates the nuclear deal and this violation will be confirmed by the board (in Iran) which supervises (implementation of) the nuclear deal.”

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani urged Salehi’s organization to get ready to build a new nuclear enrichment plant, in response to what he said were hostile measures by US officials and legislators. Iran’s nuclear agency, he said, must “prepare the plan for building a nuclear plant for enrichment to the degrees needed by the country, based on relevant laws, and inform the parliament on the process.”

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif scorned US global influence as impotent, and boasted that Iran got its way in the landmark nuclear deal and that the “US cannot do a damn thing” to intervene in its affairs.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens to a question during a press briefing, Tehran, Iran, February 20, 2016. (AP/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens to a question during a press briefing, Tehran, Iran, February 20, 2016. (AP/Vahid Salemi, File)

On Monday, a document obtained by The Associated Press in Vienna revealed that key clauses of the nuclear deal, notably relating to enrichment, ease after 10 years, essentially allowing Iran at that stage to get within six months or less of building a nuclear weapon.

Israel said Monday that the document underlined its abiding concerns about the nuclear deal.

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