Published: Wed, June 06, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Uranium Enrichment Preparations as Nuclear Deal Frays

Iran’s Supreme Leader Orders Uranium Enrichment Preparations as Nuclear Deal Frays

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has prepped Iranian scientists to increase its uranium enrichment capacity if its controversial nuclear deal with the U.S. falls apart.

In December 2015, the International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board voted overwhelmingly in favor of a draft resolution, which closed the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) case in Iran's nuclear program.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ordered the increase in capacity in a speech Monday, in which he vowed that Iran would preserve its nuclear program despite the USA withdrawal from the landmark 2015 accord.

They are seeking to ring-fence trade with Iran against new US financial sanctions to dissuade Tehran from quitting the deal.

"Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's declaration is a sign of hysteria and mass panic in the Iranian leadership", Lieberman said.

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Under the 2015 agreement, Iran can only enrich uranium to 3.67%.

It highlights the whole issue of Iran's formerly ambitious enrichment programme and again raises the question as to exactly what this enrichment programme was ultimately for. He said, 'I will cancel or change the agreement.' There was no change, he canceled it.

Khamenei said the accord could only continue if the Europeans fulfill six conditions, including: promising not to question Iran over its ballistic missile program or its regional activities; guaranteeing that Iran's oil will continue to be sold and compensating for any losses and buying any remaining stock; and having European banks guarantee financial transactions with Iran.

"Iran said there had only been feasibility and scientific studies but what we see is that Iran ran a fully fledged nuclear weapons program and that it followed directions from the political levels", the official added.

US Pentagon agents believe any such move could put the Middle Eastern nation on the path to obtaining a nuke.

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In return, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were dropped in January 2016.

During a meeting with Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, in Berlin she said that while she had concerns about the 2015 deal it remained the best option available to prevent an arms race in the region.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also slammed Khamenei's declaration that he had ordered preparations to increase uranium enrichment capacity Monday, according Hebrew media.

The nuclear deal and lifting of punishing nuclear related global sanctions created optimism in Iran after years of economic isolation.

But the remaining backers of the accord have limited power to protect Iran's economic interests in the face of United States sanctions, with Trump showing little inclination to spare European Union companies. "Fortunately, we are not alone", he said.

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Netanyahu said that he had not asked Macron to leave the deal but that the talks focused on "how to stop Iranian agression in the region". "Yesterday, he explained how he wants to do it - with unlimited uranium enrichment to create a nuclear arsenal", he said.

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