Iran Plans to Expand Ability to Enrich Uranium

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

Israel maintains that Iran duped the West into a one-sided deal and plans to use the break from sanctions to build up its financial reserves before returning to full-scale enrichment of uranium for future nuclear weapons. "They'll go to one place, to here (France) or to Germany or to Europe", he said, repeating a similar warning to Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.

Israel hopes that evidence from the secret nuclear archive will bolster Netanyahu's efforts to persuade his European counterparts to quit the deal, which Israel argues is invalid because it was based on the falsehood that Iran had never pursued a nuclear weapons program.

The European Union said a first assessment indicated the new steps announced by Iran did not constitute a violation of the agreement. He told reporters that the country was developing technology for building advanced centrifuges at a nuclear center in Natanz.

Iran has also developed the capacity to produce electricity at Natanz, Salehi said, a site which lies around 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Tehran.

However, Macron said while France shared Israel's concerns regarding Iran's threats in the region, his government stands by the nuclear agreement. He added that the government sent a letter Monday to the International Atomic Energy Commission about "the start of certain activities".

"What we are doing does not violate the (2015 nuclear) agreement", he said, specifying this was just the start of the production process and "does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges".

Iranian state television broadcast his comments.

The announcement came a day after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei ordered the AOEI to make preparations for enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000SWU (separative work unit) without any delay in case of a potential collapse of the Iran deal.

The European powers are trying to come up with a package to ring-fence trade with Iran against renewed US financial sanctions to dissuade Tehran from quitting the accord.

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While noting that Iran had stepped up the pressure with its latest announcement, Macron also pointed blame in the direction of US President Donald Trump for unilaterally pulling out of the hard-fought 2015 deal created to stop Tehran getting a nuclear bomb.

He stressed he had "no indication" that Iran had breached the terms of the deal, which Trump walked away from last month.

He also repeated Iran's position that its nuclear programme was for civilian purposes only.

"Israel has made it clear that a nuclear Iran is not an option, and Iran is all but daring Israel to stop it".

U.S. President Donald Trump denounced the 2015 accord, reached under predecessor Barack Obama, as it did not cover Iran's ballistic missile programme, its role in Middle East wars or what happens after the deal begins to expire in 2025. The JCPOA permits Iran to enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent - a very low level that would be inadequate for making a thermonuclear warhead, but would still enable nuclear power generation.

The European powers share those concerns but say that the accord, also negotiated with China and Russian Federation, is the best way to prevent Tehran developing a nuclear weapons capability.

"If you have a bad deal you don't have to stick to it especially if you see that Iran is conquering one country after another and you can not divorce this from Iran's aggression in the (Middle East) region". George Grow adapted the story for Learning English.

VOANews.com reported this story.

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