Regime has installed advanced new centrifuges, plans more

Iran rebukes G7 for ‘destructive policies of the past’ after nuclear program warning

Tehran says it will continue to cooperate with IAEA, accuses G7 of ‘resorting to false claims to continue sanctions’ after vow to act if Iran sends ballistic missiles to Moscow

Centrifuges line a hall at the Uranium Enrichment Facility in Natanz, Iran, in a still image from a video aired by the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting company on April 17, 2021, six days after the hall had been damaged in a mysterious attack. (IRIB via AP, File)
Centrifuges line a hall at the Uranium Enrichment Facility in Natanz, Iran, in a still image from a video aired by the Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting company on April 17, 2021, six days after the hall had been damaged in a mysterious attack. (IRIB via AP, File)

Iran called upon the Group of Seven on Sunday to distance itself from “destructive policies of the past,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said, referring to a G7 statement condemning Iran’s recent nuclear program escalation.

On Friday, the G7 warned Iran against advancing its nuclear enrichment program and said it would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia.

“Any attempt to link the war in Ukraine to the bilateral cooperation between Iran and Russia is an act with only biased political goals,” Kanaani said, adding that some countries are “resorting to false claims to continue sanctions” against Iran.

Last week, the UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution calling on Iran to step up cooperation with the watchdog and reverse its recent barring of inspectors.

Iran responded by rapidly installing additional advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordo site and begun setting up others, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.

Kanaani added Tehran would continue its “constructive interaction and technical cooperation” with the IAEA, but called its resolution “politically biased.”

Pope Francis and other world leaders take part in a working session on Artificial Intelligence at the Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 Summit in Savelletri near Bari, Italy, on June 14, 2024. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)

Iran is now enriching uranium to up to 60 percent purity — close to the 90% of weapons-grade — and has enough material enriched to that level for three nuclear weapons, according to an IAEA yardstick.

Since the collapse of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers following the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord in 2018, it has pursued nuclear enrichment just below weapons-grade levels. Western powers say there is no credible civilian reason for that. Iran says its aims are entirely peaceful but officials have recently said it could change its “nuclear doctrine” if it is attacked or its existence threatened by arch-foe Israel. That has prompted alarm at the IAEA and in Western capitals.

Iran, as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, has pledged to allow the IAEA to visit its atomic sites to ensure its program is peaceful. Tehran also agreed to additional oversight from the IAEA as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. However, for years it has curtailed inspectors’ access to sites while also not fully answering questions about other sites where nuclear material has been found in the past.

The IAEA’s director-general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, visited Iran in May in an effort to boost inspections, but there hasn’t been any major public change in Iran’s stance.

All this comes as the Islamic Republic also appears to be trying to contain the risk it faces from the US after launching an unprecedented attack on Israel. The assault — a response to a suspected Israeli strike on April 1 that killed two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals and others in Damascus, Syria — further pushed a years-long shadow war between Israel and Iran out into the open.

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