Iran can resume nuclear enrichment to 20% purity in 5 days: Salehi

August 22, 2017 - 20:2

TEHRAN – Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Tuesday that Iran can resume uranium enrichment to the purity of 20 percent in five days in the Fordow plant if necessary.

The remarks by the nuclear chief come as U.S. President Donald Trump has assigned, according to the Foreign Policy, a team of his close aides to assess Washington’s withdrawal from the July 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Our first priority is to protect the JCPOA, but not at any cost. If the other side stands by the JCPOA, we will stand by it. If they seek to sabotage it [the deal], we hope that would not happen, we will do something that will surprise them,” Salehi, a nuclear physicist, told the IRIB, the national TV.

Based on the nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic and financial sanctions. The deal was signed between Iran, the European Union, Germany and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council including the United States. It went into effect in January 16, 2016.

Salehi said based on the nuclear deal many changes have been made to the Fordow plant, however, the changes are in a way that Iran can resume uranium enrichment to the level of 20 percent immediately.

Salehi added this warning is not something “hollow” and is based on the data that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has.

He also said, “Political credibility of the U.S. will be tarnished if the JCPOA is violated.” 

Elsewhere, Salehi said that Iran has no limit in the area of research and development in nuclear technology. 

On August 15, Rouhani said that Iran will quit nuclear agreement “in hours” and return to the previous stage if sanctions are re-imposed on the country.

Rouhani’s comments were referring to sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department on six Iran-based satellite companies on July 28 after Iran launched the Simorgh (Phoenix) satellite carrier rocket into space a day earlier.

Last month, the two houses of the U.S. Congress ratified non-nuclear sanctions against Iran. The sanctions were mainly targeted at Iran’s missile capability.