Iran unveils 15-year nuclear enhancement program

Top official says Tehran will seek commercialization of its atomic capabilities, will build two more nuke power plants

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, speaks in Tehran, Iran, on July 15, 2015. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi announced Monday that the Islamic Republic is putting together a 15-year plan to enhance its nuclear capabilities following the signing of a landmark agreement with world powers last month.

“A 15-year-long plan is being compiled and the plan will be reviewed every 5 years,” Salehi said during a ceremony at the Fordo nuclear site near the Central city of Qom, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“One of our plans is to move on the path of commercialization and we hope to gain success in this arena,” he continued.

According to Fars, Salehi also discussed plans to construct a nuclear hospital as well as two small nuclear power plants in the Southern province of Bushehr.

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)

Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said his country would commercialize nuclear technology as soon as the agreement signed with world powers in Vienna on July 14 comes into full effect.

“Our nuclear program has been recognized in Resolution 2231 and world powers are eager to cooperate with us in this regard,” Rouhani stated.

Israel has long opposed any deal with its arch-foe Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lambasted the landmark agreement as a “historic mistake.” He has repeatedly threatened to take military action if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The nuclear deal aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

On Monday, Rouhani lashed out at Israel and accused it of promoting “terrorism,” signaling that the thawing relations between Iran and the West would not translate into a shift in Tehran’s position concerning the Jewish state.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, on August 29, 2015. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

“Certain governments are created based on terrorism and see their survival in light of terrorism and its clear instance is the fake Zionist regime in the Palestinian territories,” he said, according to Fars.

“The [Israeli] government and regime basically started its job based on intimidation, terrorism and occupation. And today it is continuing the same anti-human path,” continued Rouhani.

In similar remarks Monday, the Iranian Parliament’s Vice-Speaker Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabifard stressed Iran’s unequivocal backing for organizations fighting Israel.

“We will support any movement that confronts the Zionist regime and its state terrorism,” he said, according to Fars.

Aboutorabifard went on to praise the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which waged a bloody war with Israel in 2006.

“The Islamic resistance of Lebanon is regarded as a terrorist group by the Mossad and the CIA because the Zionist regime that had institutionalized state terrorism in the region is fighting against it,” he said.

Earlier Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the Islamic Republic for failing to change its hostile attitude toward the State of Israel.

“It is not acceptable how Iran continues to talk about Israel,” Merkel said, according to Reuters. “It is a disappointment that there has been no change as far as the recognition of Israel goes.”

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