Tehran: Behrouz Kamalvandi, Spokesperson for Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), declared that ‘Iran has made so much progress that it can easily enrich uranium to any extent. It can take the enrichment of uranium from 20% up to 40%, 60% and even 90%. However, Iran is mulling over its need at the moment.’ Israel had alleged that uranium enrichment to 90% meant that Iran was very close to developing a nuclear bomb. Therefore, Israeli media claims that Kamalvandi’s announcement is a warning to Israel and the western nations.
The events that happened in the last week have made evident that Iran, which backed out from the nuclear deal it had signed with the west in 2015, has sharply accelerated its nuclear program. In a letter addressed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEO) last week, on 31st December, Iran warned that it would take uranium enrichment at the Fordow nuclear facility to 20%. Information on Iran’s letter surfaced in media reports two days later.
According to the 2015 nuclear deal, signed five years ago, any nuclear activity in the Fordow facility is prohibited. Iran was permitted to use the facility as a technology centre. At the same time, the deal restricted Iranian uranium enrichment to a level of 3.67%. Despite that, Iran announced increasing the enrichment to 4.5%, after withdrawing from the nuclear deal.
Under the circumstances, Iran’s announcement to resume 20% uranium enrichment is believed a warning to Israel, the United States and other western nations. A reaction had even emerged from Europe’s E-3 – the UK, France and Germany over it.
In a joint letter, the three nations issued a warning to Iran, ‘Iran must immediately stop the process of enriching uranium to 20%. Iran must not take any provocative decisions that could end a chance at negotiations for the nuclear deal.’ Simultaneously, they also stated that ‘If Iran makes aggressive changes to the nuclear program by violating the terms of the nuclear deal, we will not support it in any way. Iranian activities may turn dangerous.’.
By the time the E-3 reacted, Iran had already resumed uranium enrichment to 20% at the Fordow nuclear facility. While addressing a press conference, Ali Rabiei, Iranian Spokesperson for the Rouhani government, gave the information in a statement to journalists. On the other hand, AEOI Spokesperson Kamalvandi revealed even more shocking details as he spoke to the media.
Kamalvandi said, ‘Iran had the technology to take uranium enrichment to 90%. The Iranian parliament has approved for the enrichment of uranium to be taken to 20%. However, Iran is deliberating over whether enrichment of uranium to that extent was required.’
In the past, Israel had claimed that Iran would be closer to developing a nuclear bomb if it takes uranium enrichment to 90%. Israel had also declared that it would not allow Iran to become nuclear-armed under any circumstance. A reaction is thus expected from Israel over Iran’s announcement.