Iran Ready to Boost Uranium Enrichment Should JCPOA Fail: AEOI

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior Iranian nuclear energy official said Tehran is ready to enrich uranium beyond previous levels in case the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), fail to save it.

Iran Ready to Boost Uranium Enrichment Should JCPOA Fail: AEOI

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told IRIB on Wednesday that the country “will reach even more advanced levels” of uranium enrichment if the other parties leave the JCPOA.

He also said that the country’s nuclear activities are moving forward at a favorable pace.

Back in June, the AEOI was ordered by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to promptly make preparations for enrichment of uranium up to a level of 190,000 SWU “for the time being within the framework of the JCPOA.”

In a speech on June 4, the Leader slammed European governments for expecting the Iranian nation to both tolerate sanctions and give up its nuclear activities, saying that the country cannot remain in “nuclear custody” when the sanctions are still in place.

As part of those preparations, the AEOI launched a UF6 production plant in late June in a bid to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity.

The plant, which had been almost inactive for the last few years, was re-opened for the production of uranium hexafluoride as a major part of the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

On August 6, he signed an executive order, re-imposing many sanctions on Iran. He said the US policy is to levy “maximum economic pressure” on the Islamic Republic.

Trump also restated his opinion that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a “horrible, one-sided deal”.

Since the US’ withdrawal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran reaps enough economic benefits to convince it to stay in the deal. However, the offers made by the Europeans so far to keep Tehran in the JCPOA have yet to persuade the Iranian officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned on Tuesday that Tehran would withdraw from the nuclear deal if the Europeans fail by November 4 to design a mechanism to safeguard Iran’s main interests, including oil sales and banking payments, in the accord.

That is the date when the second round of US sanctions against Iran will snap back, after which Araqchi said the Europeans’ efforts to save the deal would be useless.     

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