Iran steps up pressure with plan to boost uranium enrichment capacity

Iran steps up pressure with plan to boost uranium enrichment capacity

Iran steps up pressure with plan to boost uranium enrichment capacity

At a press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the French leader called on "everyone to stabilise the situation and not give into this escalation which would lead to only one thing: conflict".

Salehi said this did not violate the nuclear deal but that it marked an increase in the pace of the nuclear programme.

Such a move would intensify pressure on Britain, France and Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel was not surprised by Iran's declared intention to increase uranium enrichment capacity and reaffirmed a vow to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz (plant), we can announce the opening of the centre for production of new centrifuges", said Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, according to conservative news agency Fars. He told reporters that the country was developing technology for building advanced centrifuges at a nuclear center in Natanz.

According to the Iran deal, which was signed by the Obama administration, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom in 2015, Tehran has promised to curb its nuclear advancements in exchange for lifted economic sanctions. Those countries are struggling to prevent collapse of an global agreement aimed at controlling Iran's nuclear program.

"If the Iranians don't surrender now, and try to return" to unsupervised uranium enrichment, "there should be a clear statement by the President of the United States and all of the Western coalition", Katz told Israeli public broadcaster Kan, adding that "the Arabs and Israel surely would be there too".

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. Washington has reimposed sanctions against Tehran since quitting the deal last month, arguing Iran posed a security threat.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday he had ordered preparations for Iran to have greater enrichment capacity if the deal falls apart.

"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".

Marandi told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that Iran is waiting for the European Union to give an "explicit commitment that will ensure that European business and citizens are protected from the U.S. government".

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

US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the accord last month, despite stern global warnings from the other signatories, which consider it to be pivotal to regional and worldwide peace and security.

He accused Tehran of using the "cash bonanza" from sanctions relief under the deal "not to develop Iran, not to make it more moderate", but to build up its forces in war-torn Syria. But Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USA have accused Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Stressing that the Iranian nation and government can not tolerate to be both sanctioned and be put in the "nuclear custody", Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the AEOI to take rapid steps to make preparations for starting uranium enrichment "up to a level of 190,000SWU for the time being within the framework of the JCPOA" and take other preliminary steps that the president has ordered from tomorrow.

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