Iran can produce higher enriched uranium if U.S. exits nuclear deal

President Hassan Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran

Nuclear test
Nuclear test

Iran has the technical capability to enrich uranium to a higher level than it could before a multinational nuclear deal was reached to curb its nuclear programme, state TV quoted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy organiaation, Ali Salehi as saying.

U.S. President Donald Trump has given European signatories to the 2105 deal a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws’’ in the agreement or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.

Salehi warned Trump against taking this course.

“Iran is not bluffing … Technically, we are fully prepared to enrich uranium higher than we used to produce before the deal was reached… I hope Trump comes to his senses and stays in the deal.”

Under the deal, which led to the lifting of most international sanctions in 2016, Iran’s level of enrichment must remain around 3.6 per cent.

Iran stopped producing 20 per cent enriched uranium and gave up the majority of its stockpile as part of the agreement with the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

Related News

Uranium refined to 20 per cent fissile purity is well beyond the five per cent normally required to fuel civilian nuclear power plants, though still well short of highly enriched, or 80-90 per cent, purity needed for a nuclear bomb.

Tehran has ruled out any possibility of negotiating over the country’s ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its international role in the Middle East as demanded by Trump.

Britain, France and Germany back the deal as the best way of stopping Tehran getting nuclear weapons, but have called on Iran to limit its regional influence and curb the missile programme.

Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will make a televised announcement on Monday evening (1700 GMT) in what his office said would be a “significant development regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran”.

Netanyahu’s office did not immediately offer further details.