Iran Threatens To Restart Nuclear Enrichment, Can Begin "Within Four Days"
Iran is threatening to restart its controversial nuclear enrichment program, as the head of the Islamic Republic's Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI)( revealed on Sunday that they have maintained the ability to quickly restart the full-scale enrichment of uranium "within 4 days," reports FARS news.
"If senior Islamic Republic officials issue an order to resume the 20% enrichment, we can do it in Fordo within 4 days," said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the AEOI - referring to the Fordo nuclear facility in northern Iran. Of note - 20% enrichment is considered above the required level for nuclear energy production, however it is still well below the 80-90% required for a nuclear weapon.
Salehi said his statement should be seen as a warning not to discard the nuclear deal - and revealed that Iran had made "more extensive progress in other parts of its nuclear activities" which "go beyond the previous levels" according to FARS.
Meanwhile, in a Monday speech at the "National Atomic Energy Day," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that Iran's nuclear industry is moving along "faster than before."
"I want to clearly say to the Iranian nation that our nuclear industry is moving faster than before with more energy, accuracy and more exact calculation," the Iranian leader said, speaking from Tehran. Rouhani was quoted as saying Iran needs "both hard and soft power," while pursuing "constructive engagement" with the rest of the world.
Under the 2015 agreement spearheaded by the Obama administration, Iran promised to significantly scale back its nuclear enrichment programs and give up pursuit of nuclear weapons - however it is still allowed to develop civilian nuclear technology, including energy production and scientific research.
"We don’t have any problems technically. We were moving normally in the past but if we want to soar up, we can ascend to go up the ladder and develop 100,000 SWUs (of enrichment capacity) in one and a half years and change the heart of the (Arak heavy water) reactor too," said AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi.