On Tuesday, Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it will increase its uranium enrichment capacity. Ali Akbar Salehi, vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, stated that a letter had been given to the IAEA about the increase, and stated bluntly, “If conditions allow, maybe tomorrow night at Natanz, we can announce the opening of the center for production of new centrifuges” for uranium enrichment, adding, “What we are doing does not violate the (2015 nuclear) agreement.”
Salehi claimed that Iran’s action “does not mean that we will start assembling the centrifuges,” adding that the uranium enrichment plans “do not mean the negotiations (with Europe) have failed.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said this week “The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran is duty-bound to prepare the ground for achieving 190 thousand SWUs,” adding that the plans would be “within the framework of the JCPOA for the time being.” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, clarified, “The leader meant that we should accelerate some process … linked to our nuclear work capacity to move forward faster in case needed.”
In May, Khamenei said the Iran nuclear deal could remain only if the Europeans promised not to question Iran over its ballistic missile program or its regional activities.
Yisrael Katz, Israel’s intelligence minister, responded to the news of Iran’s acceleration of uranium enrichment, stating, “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” that “if the Iranians return” to enriching uranium giving them the capacity to build a nuclear bomb, “a military coalition will be formed against them.”